Background and Information

The Innovation Grants Program is funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), also known as Prop 63, which California voters passed in 2004. MHSA is funded by a 1% tax on personal incomes above a million dollars and is designed to expand and transform California’s county mental health systems.

Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services (BHCS) invites members of the community to present fresh and new projects to be funded as Innovation Projects. "New" means that the project has not previously been done in the mental health field. A diverse Innovation Grants Review Panel will review the applications and recommend the most promising projects for funding under the Innovation Grants Program.

About Innovation Projects

An Innovation Project may introduce a novel, creative, and/or ingenious approach to a variety of mental health practices. An Innovation Project is a short-term project that contributes to learning, rather than having a primary focus on providing a service. Innovation Projects can contribute to learning at any point across the spectrum of an individual or family’s needs relating to mental health, from prevention and early intervention to recovery supports. Innovation Projects may run for a few weeks or months, but must be completed within 18 months.

In order for an application to be considered an Innovation Project, it must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. It is new, meaning it has not previously been done in the mental health field;
    Innovation Projects must promote new approaches to mental health in one or more of the following ways:
    • Introducing a new mental health practice or approach, or
    • Adapting an existing mental health practice or approach, so that it can serve a new target population or setting, or
    • Modifying an existing practice or approach from another field, to be used for the first time in mental health.
  2. It has a learning component, which will contribute to the body of knowledge about mental health;
    • The learning component is represented in the application’s Learning Question.
  3. It is focused on improving some aspect of the mental health system and/or mental health service delivery;
    For example, Innovation Projects may be used for the following purposes;
    • Decreasing mental health disparities among specific populations;
    • Improving outcomes through increased quality or efficiency of services; Promoting interagency collaboration; and Increasing access to mental health services
  4. It is time limited.
    • Projects must be completed within 18 months or less. The 18 months includes any start up and completion of required reports to BHCS.

BHCS Clients and Consumers

A consumer is a person who has experienced mental health issues that have disrupted his or her education, employment, housing, social connections and/or quality of life. He or she has utilized mental health services and has a personal experience of stigma, discrimination or social exclusion. Innovation Projects should also pay particular attention to low-income individuals and areas. Click here to view a map of low income areas within Alameda County.

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last updated 07/18/2011
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Funding Status

Round Four
Innovation Grants

Mental Health Technology Pilot Project awards will be announced in February 2018.

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