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Innovation

Overview 

Innovation (INN) is part of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). This MHSA component is one that contributes to learning, rather than a primary focus on providing a service, in one or more of the following three ways:

  • Introduces new mental health practices/approaches including prevention and early intervention that have never been done before, or
  • Makes a change to an existing mental health practice/approach, including adaptation for a new setting or community, or
  • Introduces a new application to the mental health system of a promising community-driven practice/approach or a practice/approach that has been successful in non-mental health contexts or settings.

An INN project may introduce a novel, creative, and/or ingenious approach to a variety of mental health practices, including those aimed at prevention and early intervention.

Alameda County’s Innovative Grants Program has a primary purpose to increase the quality of services, including better outcomes for individuals living with mental health issues in Alameda County. This purpose will be fulfilled through a successful venture capital, donor-advised funding process designed to engage the larger community, beyond traditional mental health providers.

The proposed Innovative Grant Program has a secondary purpose, which is to expand the community’s understanding of the mental health system and increase meaningful involvement during the decision making processes. Including non-traditional mental health stakeholders will help to empower and improve feelings of self efficacy in decision making.

Innovative Grants Program 

Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services (BHCS) invites members of the community to present fresh and new ideas to be funded as Innovative Projects. A diverse Innovative Grants Selection Board will review the applications and recommend the most promising projects for funding under the Innovative Grants Program.

Applicants may submit applications for many different types of Innovative Projects, including:

  • Mental health outreach, education and training for mental health and non-mental health providers;
  • New treatment interventions or supports that are expected to improve outcomes among individuals and their families with or at risk for mental health issues;
  • New organizational practices, processes or procedures to improve collaboration, cultural competence, recovery, efficiencies or revenue;
  • Increased mental health advocacy; and
  • Other creative ideas that are expected to improve the public mental health system and reduce the need for longer-term mental health treatment.

To learn more about or apply for Innovative Grant funds go to: www.acinnovations.org.

Plan Requirements 

Alameda County’s Innovative Grants Program was developed through the INN Community Planning Process. The Community Program Planning Process (CPP) engaged the broad community including individuals that identified themselves as consumers and family members. The CPP also included individuals that represented the age span and diverse races/ethnicities. All regions in the County were also represented.

The INN Community Planning Process required local stakeholders to recognize the following parameters for this funding stream:

  • Projects must be time limited (cannot fund ongoing programs);
  • Projects must contribute to learning (have a learning question); and
  • Introduce, modify or adapt a mental health practice.

Additional Information & Applying for Funds 

For more information about INN in Alameda County, please: