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Support Funding for Key Mental Health Programs

The demand for behavioral health, safe housing, and related social services continues to grow, stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
MAMH's budget priorities are outlined in our FY22 Letter to the Legislature and our FY22 Budget Priorities summary.

For more information on how the budget process works, check out our Massachusetts State Budget Process summary.

Budget Priorities

Line Item Description Budget Priority

Department of Mental Health (DMH) Rental Subsidy Program (7004-9033)

The DMH Rental Subsidy Program provides DMH clients with housing vouchers, as well as clinical, social, and tenancy support services through community providers.

Fund the DMH Rental Subsidy Program at $12.548M, $2M over the Administration’s H.1 budget recommendation, to provide housing to an additional 142 individuals. Stable, affordable housing is critical to helping these individuals engage in treatment and achieve recovery.

Statewide Homelessness Support Services (5046-2000)

DMH Statewide Homelessness Support Services address long-term homelessness, for example, through the creation of new, permanent supportive housing options.

Fund DMH’s Statewide Homelessness Support Services at $24.784M, $2.046M over the Administration’s H.1 budget recommendation, to expand Safe Haven programs in Massachusetts and fund Program Staffing Supports at Pine Street Inn’s New Chardon Street Boston, safe housing for women who are homeless living with mental health conditions.

Middlesex County Restoration Commission (4000-0300)

The Middlesex County Restoration Center Commission is working to establish a center to provide crisis services and wraparound social supports to prevent arrest, hospitalization, and emergency department boarding of individuals in behavioral health crisis.

Fund the Middlesex County Restoration Center Commission at $1.85M in FY22 to launch a pilot program for Restoration Center services. Find more information via the Middlesex County Restoration Center fact sheet.

Criminal Justice Reform (5046-0000)

Jail Diversion Programs help to divert individuals with behavioral health conditions from the criminal justice system.

Include the $2.590M in DMH Adult Services and Supports line item for jail diversion services to continue awarding grants to local municipalities for criminal justice diversion initiatives (e.g., co-responder models).

Geriatric Mental Health Services Program (9110-1640)

This line item funds Elder Mental Health Outreach Teams (EMHOTs), which are mobile, multi-disciplinary teams that provide outreach, counseling, and connections to more intensive behavioral health services when needed.

Fund the Geriatric Mental Health Services Program line item at $1M, $200K over the Administration’s H.1 budget recommendation, to establish two additional EMHOTs in new communities within the Commonwealth.

Inpatient Behavioral Health Beds for Children (4000-0052)

The pandemic has dramatically worsened the existing problem of children waiting in Emergency Departments for days and even weeks waiting for a psychiatric inpatient bed.

Support for a $50M Innovation Fund within EOHHS to address emergency department boarding and create better systems of supporting children and families in crisis.

EOHHS Ambulatory Care Behavioral Health Roadmap

On February 24, 2021, the Administration released its Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform: Ensuring the right behavioral health care treatment when and where people need it.

Support $84M, as proposed in H.1, to implement the EOHHS Ambulatory Care Behavioral Health Roadmap, creating a more connected and responsive behavioral health system over the next several years in the Commonwealth.

Advocate for Policies that Promote Mental Health

MAMH's legislative agenda for 2021-2022 supports three main goals - expanding access, decriminalizing mental health conditions, and promoting wellness. With a focus on prevention and ongoing concerns of parity, MAMH staff and partners will work closely with legislators on bills to support each of these priorities. To learn more about MAMH's overall legislative priorities, refer to our MAMH's 2021-22 Legislative Agenda.

You can make a difference by contacting your legislators today and encouraging them to support the goals that matter to you!

Expanding Access

Legislation Description More Information

S.1287, An Act to increase investment in behavioral health care in the Commonwealth

The behavioral health system has long been underfunded. This bill will increase investment in behavioral health care – 30% per year over three years, above baseline expenditures, adding behavioral health expenditures as a specific focus to the Health Policy Commission’s annual cost trends hearings.

Bill

S.675, An Act relative to mental health parity implementation

There remains a stark lack of parity between behavioral health and physical health. This bill will improve enforcement of existing parity legislation and take steps to remove barriers to care.

Bill

H.2081 & S.1274, An Act to better coordinate suicide prevention services, behavioral health crisis care and emergency services through 988 implementation

More investment is needed in alternatives to law enforcement response to behavioral health/social service needs. This bill will create a 988 infrastructure that coordinates several parts of a cohesive crisis response and additional follow up.

Bill (House)

Bill (Senate)

Fact Sheet

H.2083, An Act relative to behavioral health urgent care

Urgent care is typically not available for children and adults seeking help for behavioral health conditions. To support a system of behavioral health urgent care, the Department of Public Health must develop a regulatory framework to ensure families in need of care during a behavioral health crisis can access the appropriate treatments.

Bill

Decriminalizing Mental Health

Legislation Description More Information

H.2461 & S.1567, An Act to enhance 911 operations for behavioral health crisis response

Our existing emergency response system must be better able to triage people in behavioral health crisis away from law enforcement. This bill will integrate behavioral health as a primary response type into the 911 system.

Bill (House)

Bill (Senate)

Fact Sheet

H.2089 & S.1283, An Act to ensure the constitutional rights and human dignity of prisoners on mental health watch

Trauma inflicted on prisoners, which is disproportionately inflicted on those with mental health conditions, must end. This bill will address the egregious constitutional violations by DOC on prisoners on mental health suicide watch.

Bill (House)

Bill (Senate)

Fact Sheet

Promoting Wellness

Legislation Description More Information

S.91, An Act relative to screening for childhood trauma

Trauma remains a near universal experience for individuals involved in various care systems. This bill establishes an advisory working group to update, amend, and select tools and protocols for the screening of children for trauma.

Bill

S.1275, An Act establishing an Office of Behavioral Health Promotion

In order to better provide behavioral health care in the Commonwealth, additional investment must be made in communicating/promoting available behavioral health services. This bill establishes such an office within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

Bill

H.616 & S.292, An Act relative to the promotion of mental health education

A significant and growing number of youth experience mental health issues – a reality made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill will require K-12 schools to provide mental health education to students.

Bill (House)

Bill (Senate)

New Vision to Transform Mental Health Care

MAMH is proud to join the nation’s leading mental health advocacy organizations in calling for policy, programs, and standards that prioritize mental health care and address the social and economic conditions that contribute to mental health conditions. Read our Our Unified Vision for Transforming Mental Health and Substance Use Care!

MAMH President & CEO Danna Mauch speaking at a Joint Committee on The Judiciary hearing in June, 2021.

Student Angela Wallace testifying at a Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery in June, 2021.