Prevention & Early Intervention

The Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) states that each county shall establish a program designed to prevent mental illnesses from becoming severe and disabling. The Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) program shall emphasize improving timely access to services for underserved populations.

Program Components

The PEI program shall include the following components:
  • Outreach to families, employers, primary care health care providers and others to recognize the early signs of potentially severe and disabling mental illnesses
  • Access and linkage to medically necessary care provided by county mental health programs for children, adults, and seniors with severe mental illness as early in the onset of these conditions as practicable
  • Reduction in stigma associated with either being diagnosed with a mental illness or seeking mental health services
  • Reduction in discrimination against people with mental illness
The PEI program shall include mental health services similar to those provided under other programs effective in preventing mental illnesses from becoming severe, and shall also include components similar to programs that have been successful in reducing the duration of untreated severe mental illnesses and assisting people in quickly regaining productive lives.


The PEI program shall emphasize strategies to reduce the following negative outcomes that may result from untreated mental illness:
  • Homelessness
  • Incarcerations
  • Prolonged suffering
  • Removal of children from their homes
  • School failure or dropout
  • Suicide
  • Unemployment


Lastly, in consultation with mental health stakeholders, the county shall revise the program elements in future years to reflect what is learned about the most effect prevention and intervention programs for children, adults, and seniors.