Governor Brown Creates Behavioral Health Advisory Council to Address Serious Mental Illness


SALEM — Today, Governor Kate Brown convened a Behavioral Health Advisory Council formed by Executive Order 19-06. The council will make recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature with a focus on care for adolescents and adults with serious mental illnesses, including those with co-occurring substance use disorders.

“Every person in Oregon grappling with a serious mental illness deserves access to the services they need, when they need them,” said Governor Brown. “Whether from an urban center or a rural town, regardless of background or income level, every Oregonian needs to know that, as a community, we are here to support them on the path to healing.”

Tens of thousands of Oregonians suffer from mental illnesses or substance use disorders, or often both. The Behavioral Health Advisory Council will work to ensure every Oregonian receives timely access to a full continuum of behavioral health care, improving outcomes for both adults and youth with serious mental health illness, including those with co-occurring substance use disorders.

Recent surveys report that only half of people with a serious mental illness received care for their illness in the prior year, and only ten percent of people with substance use disorder received care in the prior year for their addiction.

“The behavioral health challenges we face touch every family, every community and every sector,” said Steve Allen, OHA’s behavioral health director. “No one agency can fix them alone. I’m thankful for Governor Brown’s leadership in bringing together key parts of government and other stakeholders to comprehensively address the most pressing concerns in our behavioral health system.”

In the 2019 legislative session, the Governor secured $50 million for a behavioral health investment package to develop a stronger system of care through suicide prevention and substance abuse programs, foster care behavioral health services, and capacity for behavioral health homes. Governor Brown also integrated health care funding for behavioral health both via the Oregon Health Plan and under the Student Success Act.

The council will meet monthly and provide specific recommendations in order to ensure:

  • Health equity is advanced within the state’s behavioral health system regardless of race, ethnicity, location or housing status
  • Mental health and substance use disorders are detected early and treated effectively
  • Youth and adults with serious mental health illness have timely access to the full continuum of behavioral health care
  • Youth and adults with serious mental illness can receive treatment that is responsive to their individual needs and leads to meaningful improvements in their lives
  • People with serious mental illness have access to affordable housing that offers independence and is close to providers, community resources, and public transportation
  • The supply, distribution, and diversity of the behavioral health workforce is improved to provide appropriate levels of care and access to care in the community

The full Behavioral Health Advisory Council membership list is available here.

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The Communications Office of Governor Kate Brown.

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