Jul 24, 2023

The Older Adult Behavioral Health Network enters its third year with increased diversity among our members, increased capacity as a coalition of stakeholders, and stronger ties to a broad range of advocacy and community partners.

We remain committed to elevating the importance of older adult behavioral health and wellness through advocacy, workforce development, and public education. At every stage of our work, we are guided by those with the most intimate knowledge of the issues and advocacy needs: diverse older adults, caregivers and the direct care workforce.

OABHN's highlights from the year:

OABHN led successful advocacy to increase funding for Elder Mental Health Outreach Teams (EMHOTs) and launched behavioral health innovation grants.

The OABHN DEI workgroup initiated and implemented cross-comparison of EMHOT clients and regional demographic data to better understand barriers to equity and culturally responsive services. This data was used to successfully advocate for a requirement that EMHOTs demonstrate their ability to effectively serve diverse older adults.

OABHN partnered with the Medicare Addiction Parity Project at Legal Action Center to produce a paper on recommendations for using opioid settlement funds to support older adults, published on the John Hopkins University opioid settlement funds website.

OABHN co-facilitated Mental Health Matters, a public education event screened at senior centers and at home in partnership with AARP Massachusetts.

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OABHN intern, Anderson Lamberto, at the 2023 Aging with Dignity conference

OABHN hosted an intern from Simmons School of Social Work (SSW), Anderson Lamberto, who played a key role in advocacy, outreach and conference planning efforts. Lamberto has a background in LGBTQIA informed care and created a podcast episode on the importance of gender representation and being an ally. OABHN will be welcoming a new intern in September, who has both professional and personal experience with caregiving.

OABHN's project director co-chairs the Older Adult Behavioral Health Collaborative, a subcommittee of the State Mental Health Planning Council. Over the last year, OABHN brought in Older Adult Behavioral Health Collaborative guest speakers on topics such as substance use and aging, loneliness and isolation, and new regulations to divert older adults with mental health conditions from unnecessary confinement in nursing homes.

“Interning at the Older Adult Behavioral Health Network brought class curriculum to life. It helped me understand how policy is put into action and impacts peoples’ lives. I learned the value of a network to understand what has been done and build off of what works.”
Anderson Lamberto, OABHN intern

OABHN is committed to eliminating barriers to healthy community living for older adults with behavioral health conditions. This year OABHN plans to:

Meet with the EOEA Protective Services Supervisor and Behavioral Health Program Manager to discuss supporting community living for older adults with untreated behavioral health conditions who are referred to Elder Protective Services for self-neglect.

Coordinate with aging and disability advocates to supply feedback on the proposed updates to the Older American Act regulations.

Meet with representatives from the MA Statewide Hoarding Coalition to explore ways OABHN can support the development of programs and services for older adults with hoarding conditions with the goal of reducing evictions, homelessness and unwanted nursing home admissions that are related to service gaps.

OABHN continues to facilitate a DEI Workgroup and elevate the voices of culturally diverse older adults, providers and stakeholders. OABHN recently met with a member of the Health Equity Compact to discuss how the Older Adult Behavioral Health Network can support their work and collaborate to advance older adult behavioral health equity.

OABHN will expand on our Careers in Aging initiative to grow the panel event and offer a toolkit for agencies to utilize throughout Careers in Aging week to aid in hiring.

OABHN's training subcommittee is already making plans for next year's annual conference in May 2024.

Frankco sign
Attendees2

Caption Images form OABHN 2023 conference, Healing in Community

To join our efforts or to learn more about the Older Adult Behavioral Health Network or Collaborative, contact: cassiecramer@mamh.org

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