Older Adult Behavioral Health Network | MAMH

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Most older adults experience positive mental health, and recent research suggests that past experiences of adversity may contribute to greater wisdom and resilience as we age.

Understanding and meeting our changing behavioral health needs as we age is vital to lifelong positive mental health. For example, we know that older adults with mental health conditions are more likely to experience poorer health outcomes, disability, and frequent hospitalizations, with higher rates of nursing home admission occurring at younger ages. (MA Summit on Older Adults, 2014)

Our mission is to highlight and elevate the importance of behavioral health in Massachusetts to improve the lives of older adults and support community living.

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About us

The Older Adult Behavioral Health Network (OABHN) is founded on the work of the Massachusetts Aging and Mental Health Coalition (MAMHC), a grassroots advocacy group established in 1999 to advocate for accessible and quality mental health services and support for older adults.

Membership in OABHN is open to all individuals and organizations serving the needs of older adults, including senior centers, Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs), mental health and substance use providers, faith-based organizations, advocates, and organizations providing housing, health care, and education - and, of course, older adults and their loved ones.

Funded by a generous grant from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation,the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health (MAMH) is supporting OABHN in its efforts to promote older adult behavioral health advocacy statewide.

Goals during the three-year grant cycle include:

Workforce Development

OABHN promotes and supports an older adult workforce that is knowledgeable about behavioral health conditions and skilled to address them.

The Older Adult Training Calendar is a statewide resource providing information and registration links to trainings for workers supporting older adults with behavioral health needs in the community.

Archived webinars are available to help caregivers, advocates, and others gain knowledge and skills to better support behavioral health and wellness among older adults. View past webinars here.

Public Education

OABHN uses the lens of Reframing Aging to educate residents of Massachusetts about the importance of addressing behavioral health for older adults.

Advocacy

Analyze problems, goals and influence policy development.

Advocate for older adult peer, behavioral health and wellness supports.

Promote opportunities for meaningful community engagement.

Promote promising and evidence-based practices.

Network Expansion

Connect to the national movement.

Unite aging and behavioral health administrators, providers and stakeholders.

Develop and maintain partnerships - both local and statewide.

Support a Diverse Aging Population

Elevate the voices of diverse older adults with lived experience to reduce stigma associated with mental health

Promote programs and policies that support behavioral health equity

Past Accomplishments

OABHN members as a coalition worked together to:

  • secure funding to establish and expand Elder Mental Health Outreach teams (EMHOTs) to provide outreach, mobile mental health and wraparound older adult behavioral health services
  • successfully advocate to establish a permanent line item in the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) budget for geriatric mental health
  • sponsored an annual conference and multiple training events, including peer-led trainings on de-cluttering
  • helped to establish the Massachusetts Elder Mental Health Collaborative, a subcommittee of DMH State Mental Health Planning Council

Partners

OABHN members include Jewish Family and Children's Services, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the Massachusetts Association of Mental Health (MAMH), Massachusetts Councils on Aging, Mass Home Care, Boston Medical Center’s Elders Living at Home Program, Boston University Center for Aging & Disability Education and Research, and Simmons University School of Social Work.

Contact us

For inquiries about the network, its work or to get involved, please contact Project Manager for Older Adult Behavioral Health Cassie Cramer.