Case Study: Proposition 63 – Mental Health Services Act

Posted by Kassy Perry

Changing Perception to Validate Reality

Although polling for a tax to fund statewide mental health services indicated voter support, there was little guarantee that Proposition 63 would pass. Even with one in five Americans living with mental illness, social stigma had muffled public dialog about the human and economic benefits of prevention, early diagnosis and community-based treatment. Combined with a general disdain for more taxes that seemed to be providing fewer services, this created the need for a campaign to untangle a knot that ironically tied public sympathy and antipathy together.

Through a carefully planned media strategy PCG enabled the California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies to create a connection with voters, ultimately attracting widespread support. Media training with spokespersons was important; and message training was critical. PCG evaluated voter sentiment and identified and placed the most relatable spokespersons in specifically targeted markets. Messages were tailored to influence various audiences, appealing to their pocketbook or social conscience as appropriate, and showcasing personal stories to powerfully connect voters to the cause.


  • Proposition 63 passed with a 10 percent margin
  • Media coverage accurately reported the benefits of community-based care while featuring consumers in stories evoking empathy


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