Measuring Population Behavioral Health
Perhaps no single action can have a greater impact on improving behavioral health in San Diego than to begin measuring how well we are doing. Programs in California and San Diego County simply make no attempt to determine outcomes at the population level. There is no oversight or monitoring to ask why, despite best efforts and significant spending, we are not achieving results for citizens.
In July 2023, California State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times lamenting that California has little to show for the billions it spends on many of its programs. Commenting on mental health he wrote:
“And while we spend more than $6 billion a year on mental health services, the state has very little information about which programs are working and which are not. Yet the Newsom administration has quietly opposed legislation to collect data and measure results. Bills to do so were introduced in 2021 and 2022 but failed to advance.”
The development of a standard scorecard will provide transparency, insight, and a level of oversight that ensures we are moving in the right direction in San Diego. Further, it will help each stakeholder prioritize programs that will have the most impact for their specific situation. The NANSS project will use this scorecard as the basis for evaluating potential programs.