California offered as national mental health model

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The leader of the state Senate says California’s approach to treating mental illness should serve as a national model in response to last week’s massacre of schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg says the 2004 voter-approved Mental Health Services Act promotes early and broad-ranging intervention.

He sent a letter to Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday, urging Biden to consider the act as he seeks ways to ways to increase mental health resources and avert violence nationally.

The act generates about $1 billion annually from a 1 percent tax on Californians who earn $1 million or more.

Steinberg, a Democrat from Sacramento, said the federal government should match that money in California and other states to create the foundation of a national mental health system.

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