Activists call on Alameda County supervisors to provide more mental health services

A group of activists rallied on Sunday outside the Alameda County Board of Supervisors office to demand better services for people with mental illness.

They say the county's health department ignores state funds set aside for improving and expanding the mental health infrastructure. 

And, they claim supervisors are instead using that money to fund Santa Rita Jail. 

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The group is calling on Alameda County to redirect resources away from incarceration and into community-based facilities for those with serious mental illness.

"We have a mental health system that is failing," said one of the rally organizers, Patricia Fontana. "And  we want them to stop sending people to jail. That should be getting treatment. We want better hospitals. We want more capacity. We want a total system of care that follows people and doesn't abandon them on the streets." 

Participants say they will be back in the plaza on Monday and Tuesday when the supervisors meet, demanding a public meeting to discuss recent funding decisions taken by the board and Alameda County Behavioral Health.