Big Bear’s Mental Health Alliance–comprised of Lutheran Social Services, DOVES, the MOM Project, Healthy Start, Operation Breakthrough and countless individuals—is celebrating some good news resulting from this week’s San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meeting. The three County Supervisors present at the April 14 meeting (Neil Derry was absent) unanimously approved additional funding for the Mental Health Alliance, which will be filtered through the county’s contract with Lutheran Social Services; the additional $1.4 million in funding will nearly double the Health Alliance budget through 2011, and this money comes not from the county, but from the State’s Proposition 63/Mental Health Services Act funding. Eileen Hofer, who works at Lutheran Social Services and also serves as the chairman of the local Mental Health Alliance, tells KBHR, “This is two years and two months in the making. We’re the mouse that roared.” What this additional funding means for Big Bear Valley residents is that mental health services will be more readily available for the “working poor,” as in those who make too much to qualify for MediCal but cannot afford health insurance. Of the Prop 63 funding, Hofer says, “Everybody had significant cuts in funding, county-wide, across the board, and this will allow us to continue services and add more. It’s very exciting. We are actively recruiting a psychiatrist–we already have a counselor in place—so we’re aiming for July, but we’re hoping it will be much sooner.”