Aug 10, 2022

On July 28, 2022, Governor Charlie Baker signed the fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget for the state of Massachusetts, which reflects the prioritization of many aspects of behavioral health for people of all ages in the Commonwealth.

On July 28, 2022, Governor Charlie Baker signed the fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget for the state of Massachusetts. The $52.7 billion budget reflects the prioritization of many aspects of behavioral health by the Administration and state Legislature, such as advancing behavioral health promotion and prevention initiatives; expanding access to child, adolescent, and older adult mental health; addressing the emergency department (ED) boarding crisis; and growing and diversifying the behavioral health workforce. In fact, the FY23 budget includes some of the largest investments in mental health and substance use services in recent decades.

All Massachusetts residents should have supports and services that ensure overall health and well being. The FY23 budget includes many provisions that significantly improve access to behavioral health care for people at risk of or living with behavioral health conditions across the lifespan.

Behavioral health-related highlights include:

  • Expanding outpatient and urgent care services at MassHealth, enabling individuals and families in crisis to receive care in a therapeutic community-based setting instead of in a hospital emergency department (ED).
  • Sustaining the continued collaboration between MAMH and the BIRCh Center to establish a School Mental Health Technical Assistance Center, supporting administration, teachers, and staff in schools, a setting where youth are three times more likely to access behavioral health services when offered.
  • Establishing a designated trust fund to support the state’s Behavioral Health Roadmap to create a Behavioral Health Help Line and enhance 24/7 behavioral health crisis intervention services.
  • Funding the Middlesex County Restoration Center pilot to provide behavioral health services for those in mental health and substance use crisis and help divert individuals with behavioral health conditions from arrest or unnecessary hospitalization.
  • Creating programs, such as loan forgiveness, for clinical behavioral health workers across DMH, and public awareness campaigns to promote behavioral health workforce development.

The budget significantly improves access to care and addresses inequities for people of all ages. MAMH is grateful for the dedication of all state legislators to meet the needs of the people of Massachusetts. We especially appreciate the hard work of Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Senator Michael Rodrigues, Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante, Senator Cindy Friedman, Representative Todd Smola, and Senator Patrick O’Connor for negotiating a compromise bill between the House and Senate chambers and for the leadership of House Speaker Ron Mariano, Senate President Karen Spilka, and Governor Baker in prioritizing behavioral health in the final days of the 2021-2022 legislative session.

The dedication of the Governor and the Legislature, and the engagement and advocacy of individuals and stakeholders, are reflected in a historically strong FY23 State Budget.

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