California Wine Country mental health needs explode in coronavirus pandemic

11 January 2021

While a vaccine may someday offer promise of easing the impact of COVID-19 across the North Bay, questions remain about whether the damage done to the mental health of its residents can fully recover after nearly a year in which demand for services spiked and government and nonprofits struggled to respond.

To begin to find solutions to this growing concern, Sonoma County voters last November approved Measure O, a quarter cent sales tax increase expected to raise $25 million over a decade to address mental health and homeless issues.

Backers say the revenue is expected to fund mental health programs such as emergency psychiatric and crisis services unit and related programs (44%); the county’s residential care facility and transitional housing services (22%); mental health services at children’s shelters, at residential care facilities and for permanent supportive housing (18%); behavioral health and homeless services for some 3,000 individuals, leaving 2% for capital funding of the county’s supportive housing pool.

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