THIRTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2023
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
relating to the state council on mental health.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
For example, youth suicide attempts and death rates in Hawaii are highest among native Hawaiians, profoundly impacting their families and communities. Alarmingly, native Hawaiian youth and emerging adults in Hawaii are 2.3 times more likely to die of suicide than their Caucasian peers. Native Hawaiian youth are also twice as likely as Caucasian youth to have attempted suicide in a given year.
The legislature recognizes that the mental health disparities experienced by native Hawaiians start, tragically, in the early years of life. Native Hawaiian keiki are over‑represented as victims of abuse and neglect. In high school, female native Hawaiian students experience feelings of sadness or hopelessness to a greater degree than other students. Native Hawaiian youth also have some of the highest rates of drug use in the State. Not surprisingly, these mental health disparities often persist for native Hawaiians throughout adulthood and as senior citizens. Studies on native Hawaiian mental health illustrate the pressing need for state interventions and confirm that culturally-based programs are four times more successful at addressing native Hawaiians' specific mental health needs.
The legislature notes that native Hawaiians tend to underutilize existing mental health services, seeking therapy only after their mental illness becomes severe. They are also more likely to leave treatment programs prematurely. Cultural incongruence with western mental health approaches may be a driving factor in native Hawaiians' underutilization of mental health services. Experts have found that clients are more likely to seek out and use mental health services when their values and beliefs are congruent with the interventions provided.
The legislature recognizes its obligation to address health disparities throughout the State. Specifically, section 226‑20(b)(7), Hawaii Revised Statutes, directs decision makers to "[p]rioritize programs, services, interventions, and activities that address identified social determinants of health to improve native Hawaiian health and well-being[.]" The legislature also recognizes that eliminating health disparities and achieving health equity across demographics is a national priority.
The legislature further finds that the state council on mental health is responsible for reviewing, evaluating, and advising on the allocation and adequacy of the State's mental health resources. Requiring the council to include members having knowledge of or working experience involving native Hawaiian concepts of well-being, culturally-grounded mental health methodologies, or traditional healing or health practices will help to address systemic gaps in mental health services. The legislature similarly finds that it is important for council members to receive annual training on topics related to native Hawaiian healing and health. These requirements will help the State advance culturally responsive policies and programs that may be critical to addressing the dire mental health needs of Hawaii's native Hawaiian and Pacific islander communities.
Accordingly, consistent with the commitment embodied in Act 155, Session Laws of Hawaii 2014, the purpose of this Act is to:
(1) Require native Hawaiian cultural representation on the state council on mental health; and
(2) Require members of the council to receive annual training on topics related to native Hawaiian healing and health.
SECTION 2. Section 334-10, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§334-10 State council on mental health. (a) There is established, within the department of health for administrative purposes, a state council on mental health. The council shall consist of twenty-one members appointed by the governor as provided in section 26-34. In making appointments to the council, the governor shall ensure that all service area boards of the State are represented, and that a majority of the members are nonproviders of mental health or other health services, and that a majority of the members are not state employees. The number of parents of children with serious emotional disturbances shall be sufficient to provide adequate representation of such children in the deliberations of the council. The council shall be composed of residents of the State, including individuals representing:
(1) The principal state agencies with respect to mental health, education, vocational rehabilitation, criminal justice, housing, medicaid, and social services;
(2) Public and private entities concerned with the need, planning, operation, funding, and use of mental health services and related support services;
(3) Adults with serious mental illnesses who are receiving, or have received, mental health services;
(4) The families of such adults or families of children with serious emotional disturbances; and
(5) The Hawaii advisory commission on drug abuse and controlled substances who shall be a person knowledgeable about the community and the relationships between mental health, mental illness, and substance abuse.
(b) At least members of the council shall have demonstrated knowledge of or work experience involving native Hawaiian concepts of well-being, culturally grounded mental health methodologies, or traditional healing and health practices, as evidenced by:
(1) A college or university degree in a relevant field, such as:
(B) Social work;
(C) Public health;
(E) Hawaiian studies;
(F) Health administration; or
with a focus on native Hawaiian and indigenous health, transgenerational trauma, or traditional healing and health practices including hooponopono, laau lapaau, or lomilomi;
(2) A work history that demonstrates an appropriate level of knowledge of or involvement in native Hawaiian and indigenous health, transgenerational trauma, or traditional healing and health practices including hooponopono, laau lapaau, or lomilomi;
(3) A history of health, social, or advocacy work addressing native Hawaiian inequities; or
(4) Substantial community experience as a native Hawaiian traditional and customary practitioner offering healing treatments, techniques, services, or practices.
(c) The council shall elect a
chairperson from among its members. All
members shall serve without compensation but shall be paid their necessary
expenses in attending meetings of the council.
(d) Members of the council shall receive annual training on topics related to native Hawaiian healing and health, including training on cultural awareness and loss of ethnic identity.
(c)] (e) The council shall advise the department on
allocation of resources, statewide needs, and programs affecting two or more service
areas. The council shall review and
comment on the statewide comprehensive integrated service plan and shall serve
as an advocate for adults with serious mental illness, children with serious
emotional disturbances, other individuals with mental illnesses or emotional
problems, and individuals with combined mental illness substance abuse
(f) If the department's action is
not in conformance with the council's advice, the department shall provide a
written explanation of its position to the council.
(e)] (g) The council shall prepare and submit an
annual report to the governor and the legislature on implementation of the statewide
comprehensive integrated service plan. The report presented to the legislature shall
be submitted at least twenty days prior to the convening of each regular
(f)] (h) A
quorum for purposes of doing business shall consist of a majority of the
members serving on the council immediately before a meeting begins.
(g)] (i) If a
quorum is present when a vote is taken, the affirmative vote of a majority of
members present shall constitute a valid act of the council unless this
chapter, part I of chapter 92, the articles of incorporation, or the
bylaws require a greater number of affirmative votes."
SECTION 3. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
State Council on Mental Health; Native Hawaiian Health Practices
Requires the state council on mental health to include an unspecified number of members with demonstrated knowledge of or work experience involving native Hawaiian health practices. Requires council members to receive annual training on topics related to native Hawaiian healing and health.
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.