Since 1913, the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health (MAMH) has worked to improve understanding of mental health conditions and combat disparities in health services access. We envision a day when all individuals and families across the Commonwealth have the resources and opportunities they need to promote resilience and protect overall health.

Each year, we honor individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to advance access to effective mental health services in the Commonwealth. Please click here for photos from the 2019 Friend & Leader celebration!

Mental Health ABC Act

Thank you to everyone who called to support the Mental Health ABC Act (S.2519), which passed the MA Senate on Feb. 13! The bill includes provisions to:

  • Enforce mental health parity laws
  • Require commercial coverage of Emergency Services Programs (ESPs)
  • Require coverage for mental health and physical health services when they are delivered on the same day
  • Create a workforce pipeline to encourage and support individuals from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in mental health

View the press statement by MAMH and the Children's Mental Health Campaign supporting this legislation. And please watch Senate President Karen Spilka's video about why it's so important that we pass this bill!

Health Reform 2.0

Governor Charlie Baker's health reform bill prioritizes behavioral health and primary care, requiring insurers, hospitals, and physician groups to increase spending in these areas by 30% by 2023. The bill would address barriers to parity, such as removing payment restrictions for people receiving multiple services on the same day, and improve access to qualified behavioral health providers and comprehensive services in urgent care clinics and emergency rooms.

Read MAMH's statement in support of the proposal and testimony delivered Jan. 28, 2020 by MAMH President & CEO Danna Mauch on behalf of the Children's Mental Health Campaign. You can access the full text of the bill here.

Children's Urgent Care

Children and adolescents seeking behavioral health care often experience delays in access to quality services. With key support from the Miller Innovation Fund, MAMH and its partners in the Children's Mental Health Campaign propose a strategy to build an effective, sustainable system of Pediatric Behavioral Health Urgent Care to provide earlier intervention while reducing the need for hospitalization. Read our discussion on the #Crisis Now blog, and then read the full Report on Pediatric Behavioral Health Urgent Care.

"Fail First" and Step Therapy

It's time to end insurance practices that require patients to try and fail on lower cost drugs before they can have access to medications recommended by their physicians. Forcing people with mental health conditions through repeated treatment failures in step therapy is not only discouraging but increases the risk of disability resulting from lack of effective treatment. MAMH supports S.1235/H.1853, which would review the use of these practices and promote patient protections. Read MAMH's testimony.

Mental Health Education

A significant and growing number of youth experience mental health issues or stress that interferes with academic performance, social development, and health. On July 9, MAMH joined students and the Children's Mental Health Campaign to advocate for mental health education to provide information, skills, and support students need to understand and protect their mental health. Read MAMH's testimony.

Criminal Justice System Reform

In Middlesex County Jail & House of Correction, about 45% of inmates and detainees have mental health or substance use conditions. This new legislative report by the Middlesex County Restoration Center Commission explores whether restoration centers -- behavioral health facilities providing urgent psychiatric care, crisis stabilization, and related social and health services -- can help to lower incarceration rates and reduce the use of costly hospital Emergency Departments. Read the Middlesex County Restoration Center Commission Year One Findings and Recommendations.

Security Cameras in DMH Facilities

MAMH opposes proposals to install security cameras in facilities, including residential group homes, operated by DMH and the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). Security and safety will be better achieved with reasonable measures to increase the number of staff and improve the focus of staff training. Read MAMH's testimony.

Mental Health Parity

Despite parity laws at both the state and federal levels, coverage and access to mental health and substance use services remain more restrictive than for physical health services. In testimony before the MA Joint Committee on Financial Services on June 6, MAMH President Danna Mauch said that H.910/S.588 provides crucial protections to ensure equal coverage for behavioral health conditions. Read MAMH's testimony.

Drug-Detecting Dogs in State Hospitals

MAMH provided testimony opposing emergency regulations to allow drug-detecting dogs in DMH facilities. Read MAMH's testimony.

Crisis Services

Danna Mauch talks with WBUR reporter Martha Bebinger about why walk-in mental health and urgent care centers are so important to increasing timely access to life-saving mental health treatment and supports.

Preventing Suicide

Join MAMH in supporting the International Declaration for Zero Suicide Healthcare. No suicide is fated! Learn more by watching the Zero Suicide Call to Action video. For 24/7, free and confidential support, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Please join us to advocate for equitable access to effective mental health services in Massachusetts!