Campaign underway to enlist 7,500 pledges to buy license plates
SACRAMENTO – Californians would have the opportunity to help raise awareness of mental health concerns for youth by purchasing specially designed license plates under legislation by Senator Steve Glazer, D-Contra Costa, approved by the full Senate today.
The license plate purchases would establish a new source of funding for schools to invest in mental health crisis prevention services, under the bill, SB 21.
But, to put the mental health license plates on the streets, 7,500 people must pre-order these license plates. People can register their intent to buy the license plate here: https://beingwellca.org/
Senator Glazer has joined with a coalition of mental health advocates to promote awareness of the license plate drive, including BeingWellCA and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, is a co-sponsor of the legislation.
The legislation is especially timely as teenagers are dealing with the strain of COVID-19 limits and youth anxiety, depression and suicide are on the rise as social and public health concerns.
“We face a crisis in which anxiety, depression and suicide among young people are serious social and public health concerns,” Senator Glazer said.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic, people are keenly aware of its toll on people’s mental health and the need for increased services for everyone across the state,” Senator Glazer said. “But, the pandemic has had a particular impact on our youth who have had to adapt and change every aspect of their lives at a critical point of development.”
If the bill is approved and signed into law, and once 7,500 pre-orders are made, the bill would require the State Department of Education to sponsor the mental health awareness license plate program through the Department of Motor Vehicles. The Department of Motor Vehicles would make the plates available for a fee. The sales revenue would go into a Mental Health Awareness Fund for mental health services in public schools.
These funds would be used for mental health services school districts and sites in California to increase awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.
Among many coalition partners aiding this effort are the National Alliance on Mental Illness, California, with more than 19,000 members and 62 chapters in California, and BeingWellCA, a mental health support organization founded by Graham Wiseman, whose 15-year-old son Colin died of suicide in 2013.
“We knew something had to be done to address the alarming rise in student anxiety, depression and suicide ideation to honor Colin’s life and save others,” Wiseman said.
Over the last several decades, numerous license plates have been created to support programs such as breast cancer awareness and the California Arts Council. These license plates are an effective way for people to support initiatives without raising taxes or placing the burden on certain groups or individuals.
“This license plate is one small step to bringing greater awareness to mental health and greater funding for services that help young Californians dealing with a mental illness,” Glazer said. “Please sign up to buy the license plate at beingwellca.org/.”
Here are the main organizations involved in this effort:
- Superintendent Thurmond (sponsor)
- National Alliance on Mental Illness-CA
- National Alliance on Mental Illness-Contra Costa
- California Alliance of Child and Family Services
- California Association of Student Councils
People can register their intent to buy the license plate here: https://beingwellca.org/