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Oakland, California is located in Alameda County and is home to over 400,000 people1. Overall well-being and health are the primary goals of Oakland’s Department of Human Services (DHS), which provides programs and opportunities for all of its residents. Focusing on social, emotional, and physical health, the DHS has made great strides in recent years to address areas of concern and improve outreach to all citizens in need.

 

Mental Health Statistics
With a large population, the goal of all health services within Alameda County is to ensure every individual receives the care he or she needs. According to California Health and Human Services Agency data for Alameda County from the year 2000, 5.8% of all adults had a serious mental illness, and 7.1% of all young people had a serious emotional disturbance2. Reports also estimate that over 16,000 residents were admitted for a psychiatric evaluation during the years of 2008 and 20093.

 

Oakland Measures Up with Measure Y and Oakland Unites
The DHS of Oakland has exceeded recent goals with respect to meeting its community’s needs. In the fiscal year of 2008/2009, the DHS awarded over $25 million in grants to various community and public organizations and agencies. This allowed more than 4,500 disabled persons and over 500,000 low-income individuals to receive services. More than 80,000 lunches were given out to children in need. More than 55,000 homeless individuals received shelter vouchers, and another 1,400 were transitioned into permanent or temporary housing. HIV/AIDS programs allowed 375 residents to benefit from housing and other services4.

 

Measure Y, the Violence Prevention and Public Safety Act of 2004, is a key component of the overall initiative in Oakland. Measure Y is overseen by the DHS and receives $6 million annually toward the goal of reducing and preventing violence. Measure Y focuses on four specific areas: Services to Children and Youth Exposed to Violence, Employment/Training, Youth Outreach, and Reentry. In combination, these four divisions provide extensive services to those in need, including mental health care for 2,400 youth, over 6,000 group counseling hours, and 40,000 individual counseling hours annually. Nearly 500 people were assisted by the Crisis Response program in 2008-2009, often immediately following exposure to homicide or trauma. Reentry and Employment/Training services aided over 1,300 residents in that same year by providing them with more than 80,000 hours of work experience5.

 

Measure Y also works closely with the Oakland schools and conducts violence prevention programs and workshops that have reached more than 22,000 students6 from pre-school to middle school. Staff workers regularly take Measure Y initiatives to violent areas of the city, where they can reach those in need of employment training, mental health care, and substance abuse treatment.

 

Oakland Unite is part of Measure Y and focuses on reducing violence in the city’s highest risk neighborhoods. Through programs designed to eliminate gang violence, educate and train citizens, and reduce substance abuse, Oakland Unite relies on city resources, community agencies, and all residents to achieve its ultimate mission: One City, One Peace, One Future7.

 

1 U.S. Department of Commerce, United States Census Bureau. (2012). State & County QuickFacts, Oakland, California. Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/0653000.html

2 California Health and Human Services Agency, Department of Mental Health. (2004). Original Prevalence Data Based on the 2000 Census Estimates of Prevalence of Persons with Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) and Serious Mental Illness (SMI) Alameda County. Retrieved from http://www.dmh.ca.gov/statistics_and_data_analysis/docs/Prevalence_Rates/Alameda/Table%201.pdf

3 California Health and Human Services Agency, Department of Mental Health. (2011). Adult 72-hour evaluations and treatments by county fiscal year 2008-2009. Retrieved from http://www.dmh.ca.gov/statistics_and_data_analysis/docs/InvoluntaryDetention_FY08-09/Rep0809_final_rev_21oct11.pdf

4 Department of Human Services. (2013). City of Oakland department of human services 2009 annual report. Retrieved from http://www2.oaklandnet.com/oakca1/groups/dhs/documents/report/oak022658.pdf

5 Department of Human Services. (2013). City of Oakland department of human services 2009 annual report. Retrieved from http://www2.oaklandnet.com/oakca1/groups/dhs/documents/report/oak022658.pdf

6 Department of Human Services. (2013). City of Oakland department of human services 2009 annual report. Retrieved from http://www2.oaklandnet.com/oakca1/groups/dhs/documents/report/oak022658.pdf

7 Oakland Unite. (2013). About Oakland Unite. Retrieved from http://oaklandunite.org/about/