Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Due to weather conditions on Shasta Bally, KFPR is off the air until a repair crew can reach the site safely to assess.

Mental health services discussed at Butte County’s first of many community feedback sessions

Mental Health Services Act coordinator, Sam Casale takes a question from attendees at a community input session about Butte County's mental health services at the Masonic Lodge in Chico, Calif. on Jan. 23, 2024.
Erik Adams
/
NSPR
Mental Health Services Act coordinator, Sam Casale takes a question from attendees at a community input session about Butte County's mental health services at the Masonic Lodge in Chico, Calif. on Jan. 23, 2024.

Residents were encouraged to engage with the Butte County Behavioral Health Department yesterday by asking questions at its first of several upcoming community feedback sessions.

After a presentation touching on details about the Behavioral Health Department and what it offers, attendees used the time to find out more about those services and to inquire about one of the main topics of the evening: Proposition 1.

If voters allow it this March, Prop. 1 will require the county to reallocate funds currently used to run many mental health services toward housing those with severe mental illnesses.

Guests raised concerns about the services that could be in jeopardy if the proposition passes and what a shift in funding could mean for the county.

Scott Kennelly, the department’s director, said there were possible ways to adapt to a more “housing first” model, like potentially expanding the department’s small existing housing team or sharing resources with the Department of Social Services.

Butte County Department of Behavioral Health Director, Scott Kennelly gives a presentation detailing the department's services, plans and challenges at the Masonic Lodge in Chico, Calif. on Jan. 23, 2024.
Erik Adams
/
NSPR
Butte County Department of Behavioral Health Director, Scott Kennelly gives a presentation detailing the department's services, plans and challenges at the Masonic Lodge in Chico, Calif. on Jan. 23, 2024.

“The biggest challenge is there is going to be a lot of money forcibly put towards housing,” Kennelly said. “Where is all this housing going to go? There are some very vocal people in our community that do not want severely mentally ill or addicted individuals anywhere near their neighborhood … You can’t put everyone out in the sticks.”

Sam Casale, the Mental Health Services Act coordinator, was also there to answer the questions about the potential effect Prop. 1 could have on existing services.

“If you’re a person who has looked around and said ‘I believe in a housing first model,’ and the state votes in that direction we will do what we have to do to pivot and make the best possible outcome that we can,” Casale said. “But we really want people to understand that some of the people who are doing amazing work out there are potentially on the chopping block to have their funding drastically cut.”

About a dozen people showed up to listen and participate at the meeting. Among those in attendance were Chico Councilmember, Addison Winslow and Butte County Supervisor, Tami Ritter.

The Butte County Behavioral Health Department plans to have more community input sessions in the future.

  • Oroville Public Library - 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8
  • Gridley Public Library - 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13
  • Paradise Public Library - 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15
  • Paradise Public Library - 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 22
  • Virtual (Zoom) 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 2
  • Virtual (Zoom) 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 29

Zoom meeting information below

Erik began his role as NSPR's Butte County government reporter in September of 2023 as part of UC Berkeley's California Local News Fellowship. He received his bachelor's degree in Journalism from Cal State LA earlier that year.