Mar 22, 2022

Since its launch two years ago, Network of Care Massachusetts has become an integral resource for residents of the Commonwealth seeking behavioral health support and care.

It’s been two years since MAMH launched Network of Care Massachusetts, the singular place where people can go to find information on mental health, substance use, and related social services resources (over 5,200 in total) in their communities. The timing of the launch coincided with the initiation of public health measures – staying apart to stay safe – to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. Little did we know at the time how important Network of Care Massachusetts would be to helping address the behavioral health pandemic that has followed in the wake of the viral pandemic.

picture of Network or Care Massachusetts billboard

When people are seeking mental health or substance use services, either for themselves or a loved one, chances are it’s a stressful time in their lives. Unfortunately, our behavioral health system is complex. Navigating the system and trying to get help can be daunting, anxiety-provoking, and stress-inducing.

Network of Care Massachusetts was created by the leadership of three foundations – the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, MetroWest Health Foundation, and the CF Adams Charitable Trust – to address this problem. For the first time, there is now a centralized, online location where anyone can go to search for services by keyword and zip code. Visitors may also browse a library of more than 30,000 articles and fact sheets produced by leading experts in the health field. We are proud that more than 200,000 unique individuals have visited Network of Care Massachusetts in its first two years. The site is equipped to guide anyone taking their first steps to locate mental health, substance use, and related social services in their communities to support good health and recovery.

Network of Care Massachusetts has evolved to respond to the needs of the community since launch. First, we created the COVID-19 Behavioral Health Information Hub, a compilation of resources to help people preserve and protect their mental health and well being during COVID. Later, we updated the Insurance section of the site after direct feedback from our Steering Committee and the user community about how difficult it can be to navigate coverage and benefit requirements. Recognizing the trauma and chronic stress that results from systemic racism, we built the Culturally Responsive Behavioral Health Information Hub with input from the community. The resulting Hub is a compilation of resources and behavioral health providers dedicated to providing safe, supported, and therapeutic care and services to Black, Latino/Latina/Latinx, and Asian individuals, as well as other people of color.

picture of son and mother hugging for Network of Care Massachusetts promotion

To help spread the word about Network of Care Massachusetts, we’ve launched numerous community outreach initiatives. Most recently, MAMH created a short video for users with tips and tricks to make the most of the site. The video is also available with captions in Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

Two years later, the demand for behavioral health services is unfortunately greater than ever. However, at MAMH, we have hope. Recognizing the importance of Network of Care Massachusetts, the Governor’s Administration and the Legislature decided to fund the site through annual state budget appropriations. In July 2022, the new 988 behavioral health crisis and suicide prevention three-digit number will become available across the nation. And, in January 2023, the Commonwealth will launch a Behavioral Health Help Line to give people 24/7 access to trained call operators to help connect them to care. Network of Care Massachusetts is poised to support 988 and the Behavioral Health Help Line call operators with its extensive service directory of more than 5,200 resources across the state.

While the need and the challenge can be daunting at times, we commit ourselves at MAMH to continue refining, evolving, and strengthening Network of Care Massachusetts so that it can be most effective and efficient in helping people in need connect with care. If you haven’t already, please visit Network of Care Massachusetts today! Send us your feedback and ideas. We welcome your partnership in helping people achieve better health and recovery!

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