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Sweet Solution: Assemblymember Dr. Corey A. Jackson Proposes Candy Tax to Improve California's Mental Health Care System

For immediate release:

Sacramento - Assemblymember Dr. Corey A. Jackson has introduced Assembly Bill 657, the Mental Health Services Funding Act, which aims to generate a continuous stream of funding to improve California's mental health care system. The Act proposes a tax on the distribution of candy, with the revenues collected allocated to the Mental Health Services Fund.

According to the California's Current and Future Behavioral Health Workforce report, a substantial shortage of qualified and diverse behavioral health professionals in California is expected within the next decade. If nothing is done to fill this void, by 2028, demand for psychologists and other therapists would be 40% more than expected supply. This shortage is especially dire for children, with close to a third of California's 58 counties having no child and adolescent psychiatrists at all, as per the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Many people diagnosed with mental health conditions will struggle to access the medication and counseling they need, particularly in the Central Valley and Inland Empire, where the lack of qualified workers is worse.

To address this issue, Assemblymember Jackson's bill proposes a tax of $0.05 on the distribution of candy in California. The revenues generated from this tax would be allocated to the Mental Health Services Fund, which supports various mental health programs and activities designated by the Children's Mental Health Services Act. The aim of the Act is to contribute to the improvement of the state's mental health care system by creating a continuous funding stream.

"This bill is about improving the mental health care system in California by creating a dedicated and continuous funding stream," said Assemblymember Jackson. "The revenue generated from this tax will be allocated to support the Mental Health Services Fund, which supports vital programs and services to help those in need. Our state's mental health crisis needs urgent attention, and this bill is one step towards addressing that need."

The Mental Health Services Fund provides critical support to various mental health programs and activities, including an interagency system of care for children with serious emotional and behavioral disturbances. The proposed tax on candy distribution aims to generate a dedicated and continuous funding stream to support vital mental health programs and services in the state.