Mental Health Initiative

About the Mental Health Initiative Funding Opportunity

  • GOAL 1: Continue mental health education for library staff to ensure all feel confident and able to provide exemplary customer service to every patron.
  • GOAL 2: Applying mental health knowledge and learned skills to programming aimed at increasing community members’ knowledge and understanding of mental health.
  • GOAL 3: Normalize the conversation around mental health and mental health care by continuing to create safe places for information and conversations about mental health wellness.

According to the World Health Organization by the year 2020 depression, the most common of mental health problems, will be the world’s second leading cause of disability. And, based off the latest Health Interview Survey, nearly 1 in 10 adults in California suffer from functional impairment due to a mental disorder. This means 9 percent of all adults in the state are experiencing psychological suffering to the point of it affecting their work and social life. We cannot continue to ignore the impacts these findings have within our communities.

Libraries remain some of the last public spaces people of diverse backgrounds can enjoy free of charge or judgement. It is imperative that all community members feel not only safe in public libraries but also welcome. The continued efforts of this initiative focus on ensuring staff create an inviting atmosphere of compassion and kindness that supports positive relationships and inclusive programming, while also ensuring that library staff have the resources to support their work with the public.

This year’s funding opportunity will focus on providing programming and fostering community partnerships for participating libraries. Comprised of four months of training, participating libraries will have the opportunity for five staff members to take part in the learning experience. The training will culminate in May with Mental Health Awareness Month where each library will collaborate with a community partner to host a community offering.

Learn More about the Mental Health Initiative 2020

Funding Opportunity Details

  • Each library will be given 5 spaces for staff members to participate.
  • Each library will receive 4 months of online, interactive training from January – April. Each month will focus on a different theme. The themes include self-care, understanding patron needs, outreach and programming.
  • At the end of each month libraries are encouraged to share one small-scale community engagement action. Examples will be provided throughout the month of training.
  • Libraries will receive a set of mental health books to add to their collection. See booklist above.
  • One staff member from each participating library is invited to participate in a related in-person professional development event on March 26, 2020, with travel funding provided.
  • Libraries will receive backfill to cover the costs of staff participation during the 4 months of training.
  • Libraries will receive a speaker fee, paid directly to one speaker or community partner of the library’s choice.
  • Staff members can expect to commit about 5 hours to this training per month.

Who Should Apply

Public California libraries interested in furthering staff knowledge of mental health, building upon that knowledge, and working with a community partner to execute programming for their community members.

Mental Health Initiative Application

2019-2020 Timeline

  • November 8, 2019 – Applications due by 5:00pm Pacific
  • November 18, 2019 – Notifications made
  • November 20, 2019 – Orientation webinar, 10:00am – 11:00am / MHI Welcome Webinar Slides
  • January 2002 – April 2020 – Training takes place via InfoPeople portal
    • Speaker fees may be used for any ONLINE community mental health event in May (Mental Health Awareness Month) OR June 2020.
    • Speaker fee update (individual/nonprofit payee name, amount, online event date) and W9 if needed for individuals only – Due May 29, 2020.
    • Speaker fee invoice – Due June 30, 2020 (or within 30 days after event, whichever is sooner).
    • How to submit speaker fee invoices at:

More information can be found at the California State Library’s Mental Health Initiative page.

Support Statement

The Mental Health Initiative project was supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services or the California State Library, and no official endorsement by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services or the California State Library should be inferred.

Mental Health Initiative 2020 Participating Libraries

Library Program Coordinator
Alameda County Library Rachel Sher
Altadena Library District Jesse Lopez
Butte County Library Misty Wright
Camarena Memorial Library Lizeth Legaspi
El Dorado County Library Nancy Owen-Hazard
Glendale Library, Arts & Culture Tiffany Lacayanga
LA Law Library Malinda Muller
Mendocino County Library Karen Horner
Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library Deborah Niblick
Oakland Public Library Susan Martinez
Orange County Public Libraries Beatriz Preciado
Pasadena Public Library Jane Gov
San Diego Public Library Joseph Miesner
San Francisco Public Library Tom Fortin
San Jose Public Library Rachel Gaither
Santa Clara City Library Justin Wasterlain
Santa Monica Public Library Jennifer Boyce
Solano County Library Nancy Redfield
South San Francisco Public Library Martin Pinol
Tehama County Library Christine Kingsbury

Mental Health Initiative Program Contacts