The following is a press release from the Governor’s office.
BOSTON – Today, March 1, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders met with members of the mental health community to discuss the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget which calls for a significant increase in funding as well as other investments in behavioral health.
“Our administration is pleased to have included a historic investment in our budget to strengthen behavioral health services in the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “We must continue to confront the stigma that surrounds mental illness and substance abuse disorders and improve access to treatment and recovery.”
The Baker Administration’s FY 19 budget provides significant funding and supports new investments in the Commonwealth’s behavioral healthcare system. Specifically, the budget recommends $83.8 million for the Department of Mental Health to strengthen community-based services for adults with mental illness.
“Mental illness knows no social or economic boundaries,” said Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary Sudders. “It is our responsibility to ensure that when we speak about health care, it includes treatment for mental illness, substance misuse, and co-occurring illnesses.”
The Administration’s FY19 budget supports funding for DMH’s overhauled community-based service, called Adult Community Clinical Services (ACCS), which will more effectively meet the needs of approximately 11,000 adults with long-term, serious mental illness. Key features include strong clinical integration and active engagement to meet an individual’s medical and behavioral health care needs, including co-occurring treatment interventions; a comprehensive individual plan of care to meet changing needs, with specific attention to young adults and older adults; a strong focus on achieving self-sufficiency; and integration with Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) and other employment services.
“DMH has completely changed how it engages and authorizes services for adults. In addition, we will ensure better continuity for children who transition into adulthood,” said DMH Commissioner Joan Mikula. “As part of implementing these proposed changes, we are working to both make it easier for young adults to access DMH services and for those services to better meet the particular needs of young adults.”
“The Association for Behavioral Healthcare is pleased that the Governor’s budget plan makes a significant commitment to community-based mental health services, representing the largest increase in funding for DMH in 20 years,” said Vic DiGravio, President and CEO of the Association for Behavioral Healthcare. “Governor Baker has worked with behavioral health providers to identify gaps in services and address the needs of underfunded programs. At ABH, we look forward to working with the Legislature to ensure that Massachusetts continues to support a network of compassionate, thoughtful community-based services.”
“We are impressed with the significant investment the Baker Administration is proposing to the mental health care system in the Commonwealth,” said Danna Mauch, Ph.D, President & CEO, Mass Association for Mental Health. “The two-pronged result of the reform is to restore essential system infrastructure and reinvigorate evidence-based treatment”
One in 5 Americans will experience mental illness in their lifetime.
Half of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14 and three quarters begins by the time an individual is 24. And, addictions, particularly the opioid crisis, often exist in tandem with an underlying mental health condition.
In addition, the FY 19 budget supports new behavioral health investments and builds upon the investments made over the past three years.
Between FY16-FY22 MassHealth will make $1 billion in new investments in behavioral health, including over $200 million in expanded substance use disorder (SUD) treatment services and more than $400 million for behavioral health community partners as part of the MassHealth program.
The following leaders joined Governor Baker and Secretary Sudders at the meeting: Reva Stein, Executive Director, Massachusetts Clubhouse Coalition; Audrey Shelto, President, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation; Jackie K. Moore, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, North Suffolk Mental Health Association, Inc; Vic DiGravio, President & CEO, Association for Behavioral Healthcare; David Matteodo, Executive Director, Mass. Association of Behavioral Health Systems; Lyndia Downie, Executive Director, Pine Street Inn; Danna Mauch, Ph.D, President & CEO, Mass Association for Mental Health; Cheri Andes, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI); Deb Delman, Executive Director, The Transformation Center; Jane Martin, President NAMI Cambridge/Middlesex; Anne Whitman, Ph.D., Board President, Cole Center, Mental Health Consumer Resource Center; Diane Gould, President & CEO; Advocates; Tom Scurfield, Board President, NAMI MA; Joe Finn, President & Executive Director, Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance; Joan Mikula, Commissioner, Department of Mental Health , Dan Tsai, Assistant Secretary for MassHealth; and Toni Wolf, Commissioner, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.
Photo courtesy of the Governor’s office