Greater Bay Area Mental Health & Education Workforce Collaborative – A Model for Regional Partnerships
Following the March 2000 Summit, the Institute for Mental Health
and Wellness Education at California State University East Bay,
appointed a committee on mental health education and workforce.
The committee was interested in mental health internships for
undergraduate students, supportive services for students with
disabilities and articulation between high school and four year
colleges. Shortly thereafter, Alameda County Behavioral
Healthcare Services provided staff release time to help staff the
committee and the potential development of projects. In order to
broaden the geographic scope of the work and secure mental health
support for the work, the committee approached the Mental Health
Directors of the 13 Greater Bay Area Counties. The Committee then
became a subcommittee of the Great Bay Area Mental Health
Directors (which is a subgroup of the CMHDA), and the Greater Bay
Area Mental Health & Education Workforce Collaborative was
In its early years Alameda County made a commitment to the
project offering in-kind resources including staff time and
office space. All 13 Greater Bay Area county mental health
departments contributed funds toward the hiring of a part-time
consultant to facilitate meetings and begin developing strategies
to address regional workforce development.
Under the initial fiscal sponsorship of the City of Berkeley
Mental Health and then the California Institute for Behavioral
Health Solutions (CIBHS), the Collaborative successfully applied
for and received funding from the Zellerbach Family Foundation in
2004. Support from Zellerbach has continued through 2009. The
Collaborative has also received grant funding from the California
Endowment. In 2006, the first full-time project manager was hired
and a website was launched..
In November 2006, the Collaborative was recognized as the
country’s leading innovative workforce practice in the area of
consumers, family members, and adults by the Annapolis Coalition.
In June 2007, the Collaborative played a leadership role in an
Annapolis Coalition briefing on the National Action Plan for
Behavioral Health Workforce Development, co-sponsored by CIBHS
and DMH for California’s workforce leaders.
Overall accomplishments and projects of the Collaborative
Convening monthly educational meetings.
Introducing and connecting individuals and organizations
aligned with mental health services, education and workforce
Supporting the integration of the California Association of
Social Rehabilitation Agencies (CASRA) psychosocial
rehabilitation curriculum into community college programs.
Connecting the Life Academy of Health and Bioscience (Oakland
public high school) with Merritt Community College faculty to
offer accredited courses at the high school.
Convening a Regional Community College Task Force to expand
and strengthen Human Services programs and supported education
Disseminating mental health and educational information from
the local, regional and state levels to the Collaborative
membership through meetings, events, email bulletins, conference
calls and conferences.
Participating in state policy making and advisory committees.
Identifying resources to support the continued development
and statewide use of a mental health website.
Identifying opportunities to strengthen and initiate new
collaborative efforts and joint projects among members.
Through its joint projects and regional initiatives, the
Collaborative continues to expand its membership and scope.
Today, it serves as the model for the development of Regional
Partnerships throughout California. Regional Partnerships in
other parts of the state have begun developing and are connecting
public mental health providers, educational institutions,
consumers and family members, and local and state agencies.
In addition to the work described above, the Collaborative is now
engaged in following the development and implementation of each
of the 13 Greater Bay Area county mental health departments’ WET
plans. With DMH funding for Regional Partnership and ongoing
Zellerbach funding, current projects include:
Establishing the Southern Bay Area Regional Collaborative
(Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties).
Developing and disseminating a toolkit for best practices in
undergraduate mental health fieldwork (community college and
Convening a Human Resources Forum that focuses on sharing
best practices on hiring and recruiting staff in the public
mental health field. Disseminating information and lessons
Cataloging best practices for employment of consumers and
family members in the public mental health system; disseminate
Developing strategic plan for eLearning that supports county
mental health departments.
Developing a regional client and family member expert pool.
Supporting the development of the career pathways in the GBA
including high school academies, community college certificate
programs, and the proposed MSW program at California State
University Monterey Bay.
As described in the introduction, many of the resources in
this toolkit are based on the work and experiences of the
Collaborative over the past eight years.