What is a Mental Health Services Act Innovations Project?

  • An Innovations Project is essentially a research project to determine if a particular mental health need can be solved using a practice that was not previously used to solve that same need anywhere in the world. 
  • Research measurement tools and data collecting are part of the plan design. The data collected is based on the hoped or expected outcome of the project.
  • The focus of Innovations Projects should not to be about filling in the gaps of missing services.  Instead, each Innovations Project must have significant learning goals. There must be something new learned by the introduction of the project. The results should add knowledge to the mental health field and should be generalizable to other programs or counties.
  • Each Innovations Project has a designated end date for evaluation purposes. Funding for the project is limited to 3-5 years. If a project is considered successful, other funding sources to sustain it must be explored and accessed.

An Innovation Project must have one of the four following primary purposes:

  • Increase access to mental health services to underserved groups
  • Increase the quality of mental health services, including measurable outcomes
  • Promote interagency collaboration related to mental health services, supports, or outcomes
  • Increase access to mental health services

An Innovation Project must also be defined by one of the three following project definitions:

  • Introduces a new mental health practice or approach
  • Makes a change to an existing mental health practice that has not yet been demonstrated to be effective, including, but not limited to, adaptation for a new setting, population or community
  • Introduces a new application to the mental health system of a promising community‐driven practice or an approach that has been successful in a non‐mental health context or setting.

MHSA Innovation Eating Disorder Intensive Outpatient Project Draft Proposal

MHSA Eating Disorder

RUHS-BH is committed to providing the best care for those struggling with Eating Disorders through an innovative plan. The plan includes an Intensive Outpatient Eating Disorder Program (ED-IOP) that has been developed based on the best practices in the field. RUHS-BH has designed a survey to gather input from stakeholders and the community to ensure that the project proposal aligns with the community's needs. This innovative project will test novel and creative methods of mental health practices to produce successful outcomes that can be integrated into the mental health system. By dedicating 5% of local MHSA funding towards innovative projects, RUHS-BH is committed to creating and implementing this project for up to five years. Join us in this effort to revolutionize mental health care.

Innovative plan



Resilient Brave Youth:  Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC): 

February 2017 to February 2022

The project was proposed because CSEC youth are at a high risk for experiencing symptoms of traumatic distress including PTSD, anxiety, and depression which suggests trauma-informed treatment would be effective with this population. Despite the risks faced by this population, specific data on outcomes and therapeutic approaches to meet their needs are sparse in the research literature. This project was proposed to bridge this gap in knowledge. The CSEC INN project combines an adapted Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) model to effectively treat trauma with a field-based coordinated Specialty Care Team approach designed to meet the challenges of engagement and coordination of multiple agencies. This project was designed to improve the quality of services, promote trauma informed care, and increase interagency collaboration ultimately resulting in better outcomes for CSEC youth and families.  TAY Peer Support Specialists and Parent Partners are an integral part of the CSEC Specialty Care Team working to identify barriers and support all phases of TF-CBT treatment. 

Tech-Suite:  Help@Hand

January 2019 to February 2024

This project is being implemented in 14 counties across California, will bring interactive technology tools into the public mental health system through a highly innovative set or “suite” of applications designed to educate users on the signs and symptoms of mental illness, improve early identification of emotional/behavioral destabilization, connect individuals seeking help in real-time, and increase user access to mental health services when needed. Counties will pool their resources through the Joint Powers Authority, CalMHSA, to jointly manage and direct the use of selected technology products.

RUHS-BH and our collaborative county partners intend to utilize a suite of technology-based mental health services and solutions that collect passive data that identifies early signs and signals of mental health symptoms and will then provide access and linkage to intervention and provide peer support in real-time to address the needs of the community.  Tech Suite applications will enhance current MHSA Plan activities, from prevention and early intervention to an additional care plan tool designed to decrease the need for psychiatric hospital and emergency care services.

For updated information, please visit:  https://helpathandca.org/riverside/

TAY One Stop Drop-In Centers:  

August 2015 to August 2020

RUHS-BH, through this innovation project, will test the development and implementation of TAY Peer Support Specialist (PSS) training within a dedicated training hub (the TAY Drop-in Center). This TAY peer training based on the unique needs of this age group was a multi-dimensional approach with pre-employment skill development and the practical application of skills in a supported employment environment specifically for TAY.  Practical opportunities included being part of an interdisciplinary team in an adapted evidence-based practice. Adapting an FEP model to fully and meaningfully incorporate TAY PSS into the interdisciplinary team provided a unique opportunity to enhance their work skills, and learn about the effectiveness of using TAY PSS on the team. Further, RUHS-BH expected the hub to be a unique learning environment by convening other service systems within the TAY Drop-In Center. This provided an integrated setting for TAY PSS to learn and practice navigating complex systems of care and developing skills to link TAY and their families with multiple resources. The Drop-In Center for Transition Aged Youth (TAY) provides a place for engagement in mental health services, access to resources, and the implementation of an early intervention model for youth experiencing first-episode psychosis.