Nov 23, 2021

In this season of thanksgiving, we're grateful for new investments and protections for people with mental health conditions, but we recognize that we must address societal inequities to improve mental wellness.

Last week, with almost no media fanfare, the Senate passed a sweeping mental health reform bill. The Mental Health ABC Act 2.0 promotes and supports evidence-based practices like collaborative care, protects prisoners in state prisons who are at risk of suicide, takes steps to expand and diversify the mental health workforce, and continues the slow but steady march toward mental health parity by strengthening accountability for benefits administration to end discriminatory practices.

The bill comes on the heels of the legislature proposing more than $250 million in federal ARPA funding to invest in better, more effective behavioral health services. Among many MAMH priorities included in the bills (now in conference committee) is funding to better train 911 operators to identify mental health crises and divert calls for an appropriate non-police response.

As we begin this season of gratitude, I am buoyed by the clear commitment from leaders across the Commonwealth to address the long-haul impact of the COVID pandemic on mental health. I am thankful that the stigma, discrimination, and ignorance that has long surrounded our public (and private) understanding of mental health needs is beginning to fall away.

But I’m worried, too. Persistent economic stress, frayed social discourse, and criminal legal system disparities leave many with greater vulnerability and less agency. Recent events in judicial proceedings for murders of people exercising their rights to protest injustice or to simply run on public roads remind us that, as a nation, we are not okay. We can no longer ignore these signs of a deeper, societal trauma.

The impact of COVID is only part of a perfect storm of fear, anger, and politics that seeks to justify injustice. As we give thanks with our family and friends this week, let us recognize that mental health and wellness cannot thrive in trauma and are actively undermined by racism and injustice. Let us continue to work toward a broader peace and justice for all.

Danna Mauch, MAMH President & CEO

Recent Posts

MAMH Joins National Leaders to Promote Consensus Plan for 988 Crisis Hotline


The Massachusetts Association for Mental Health (MAMH) today joined 14 of the nation’s leading mental health organizations to release a consensus plan to guide implementation of 988 – a new crisis hotline scheduled to be operational nationwide in July 2022.

MAMH Applauds Senate Passage of the Mental Health ABC Act 2.0: Addressing Barriers to Care


The Senate's passage on Nov. 17 of the Mental Health ABC Act 2.0 (S.2572) is an important next step in ensuring that all residents of the Commonwealth can get the right care at the right time for mental health and substance use conditions.

Safe Havens Play a Critical Role in Ending Homelessness and Saving Lives


Safe Havens are supervised and supportive housing for people who are homeless and have multiple health and disability conditions and who have not been successful in traditional housing or shelters.

Get important updates on mental health news, events, and advocacy delivered right to your inbox!

Subscribe Now