AG Awards $8 Million in Grants to Support Behavioral Health Services Across Massachusetts
22 Organizations to Receive Funding for a Range of Projects to Improve Delivery of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
BOSTON – To advance the goal of reducing the stigma associated with seeking help for mental illness and substance abuse, Attorney General Martha Coakley has awarded close to $8 million to a total of 22 organizations across the Commonwealth to increase access to behavioral health services.
Utilizing funds recovered by the AG’s Office through a settlement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, the Increasing Access to and Measuring the Benefits of Providing Behavioral Health Services in Massachusetts grant program (Behavioral Health Grant) supports new projects from a total of 22 organizations which improve the delivery of mental health and substance abuse services in Massachusetts in order to improve public health, welfare, and safety.
“Addressing access to mental health care and substance abuse treatment with the same urgency as physical health care is essential to thousands of families across our Commonwealth,” AG Coakley said. “The programs supported by these funds will help end the stigma around behavioral health care and improve access to critical health services for families in every corner of Massachusetts.”
Recipients of the Behavioral Health Grants will build on or create programs to improve the delivery of services to underserved populations in Massachusetts by reducing crime, violence, suicide, or homelessness, or by improving care for veterans, children, victims of violence, low-income populations, and other underserved populations who have difficulty obtaining or adhering to appropriate treatments and services.
The range of projects funded over a two-year period involve direct care, public awareness, training, screenings and referral. The following 22 organizations will receive grants to serve several communities throughout the Commonwealth:
- Alliance for Inclusion and Prevention: Placing clinicians in 18 Boston Public Schools offering services for students with anxiety, trauma-related disorders, disruptive disorders, and depression. (Servicing: Boston)
- Boston Area Rape Crisis Center: Youth Access to Support and Services (YASS) project will increase access to services for youth victims of sexual violence ages 12-21 who need to address immediate and long term mental health needs. (Servicing: 90 towns and communities in Greater Boston, Lowell, the Merrimack Valley and Central Massachusetts)
- Bay Cove Human Services: Supporting homeless seniors with an Adult Day Health program which will include transportation, shelter, counseling, recovery support groups, and information and referrals on healthcare, advocacy, and housing issues. (Servicing: Boston)
- Berkshire Medical Center (Berkshire Health Systems): Telepsychiatry network will use video conferencing to connect acute care providers and patients in the most rural sections of the region to better evaluate and treat patients locally. (Servicing: Berkshire County)
- Boston Health Care for the Homeless: Expanding behavioral health and substance abuse services to The Pine Street Inn and the New England Center for Homeless.
- Danvers Public Schools: Licensed psychologist will provide on-site counseling to staff and students. Four trainings will be held for Danvers staff and community members, focusing on mental health topics and coping skills.
- Gosnold Inc. of Cape Cod: Telepsychiatry will provide mental health and substance abuse treatment to patients living in remote, underserved areas in Barnstable County through video conferencing. It connects patients, psychiatrists, physicians, and other healthcare professionals through the use of television cameras and microphones. (Servicing: Falmouth, Mashpee, Centerville, Orleans, Provincetown, Hyannis)
- HomeBase Program: Educate and train first responders, patient care and rehabilitation service professionals to improve their understanding of and ability to assist impacted veterans and families. (Servicing: Statewide)
- Institute for Health and Recovery: Provide behavioral health treatment, case management and resource coordination to individuals and families affected by poverty, homelessness or lack of housing stability. (Servicing: Danvers, Chelmsford, Haverhill, Methuen)
- Judge Baker Children’s Center: Placing mental health clinicians in local elementary and middle schools to fill the gap in behavioral health services for children with undiagnosed and untreated mental health disorders. (Servicing: Plymouth, Rockland, Wareham)
- Justice Resource Institute: Helping girls, boys, and transgender youth ages 12-17 who are victims, or at high-risk for commercial sexual exploitation, exit or avoid the sex industry. (Servicing: Boston, Brookline, Acton)
- Lynn Community Health Center: Providing comprehensive behavioral health services to at-risk children and youth in three elementary schools and the Early Childhood Center, in partnership with the Lynn Public Schools.
- Lynn Police Department: The Diversion Program will provide assessment services, short term treatment, and referrals to mental health and substance abuse services.
- Massachusetts Mental Health Center (Department of Mental Health): Smoking Cessation Care Management Program designed for patients with serious mental illness that includes assessment, personalized motivational enhancement strategies, patient-centered decision support tools, and evidence-based treatments to identify, engage, and support patients. (Servicing: Boston)
- National Alliance on Mental Illness Massachusetts: Launching an anti-stigma campaign featuring hundreds of families from all walks of life, across Massachusetts, who will share their personal stories of mental illness on video. (Servicing: Statewide)
- Riverside Community Care: Transitional Community Support Program will use a mobile community based team to conduct a person-centered needs assessment and service planning process providing an array of services tailored to help clients engage in services that meet their needs. (Servicing: Norfolk County, Newton)
- ServiceNet, Inc.: Providing mental health and substance abuse treatment for the homeless population by integrating clinical treatment with case management through a multi-disciplinary team of social workers, peer mentors, and nurses. (Servicing: Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire Counties)
- Spectrum Health Systems: Recovery Support Navigators will work with opioid-addicted individuals pre- and post-release from the state prison system to facilitate treatment. (Servicing: Worcester County)
- Stanley Street Treatment & Resources, Inc.: The District Attorney's Office will refer non-violent drug offenders and drug offenders with mental illness for immediate access to mental health and substance abuse services, a treatment plan, drug testing, and case management. (Servicing: New Bedford, Fall River)
- The Sharewood Project: Free health care organization open to all ages offering quality health care services founded by a group of physicians and Tufts University medical students. (Servicing: Greater Boston)
- Tufts Medical Center: Autism Behavior Consultation Program that will use intensive treatment targeting the child, family, and community with evidence-based interventions and techniques, and collaborating with providers at schools and in mental health agencies where necessary. (Servicing: Boston)
- Whittier Street Health Center: Improving the delivery of mental health and substance abuse services to underserved populations by developing a Behavioral Health Urgent Care component within the existing Urgent Care Clinic, which will treat same-day behavioral health emergencies that do not require the emergency department. (Servicing: Roxbury, Dorchester, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, South End, Mattapan)
Additional details of each program can be found on the AG’s website here.
Nechama Katz, Connecting with Care Coordinator from the Alliance for Inclusion and Prevention
“School based mental health increases access to care, reduces stigma, and removes barriers to learning and achievement. The funding from the AGO will strengthen the social, emotional, and behavioral health of Boston Public School children by promoting an innovative, financially sustainable model that places full-time, Master’s level mental health staff in Boston schools through partnerships with community mental health providers.”
Gina Scaramella, Executive Director, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
“As has been discussed in the press so frequently of late, sexual assault is one of the experiences that can most derail the lives of young people in our schools and campuses. The YASS (Youth Access to Support and Services) project will develop new skills and referral processes so the resources of Rape Crisis Centers can be accessed to address the needs of young victims/survivors and their families. By developing a an alliance among three rape crisis centers (BARCC, PFC, CHH) we are able to reach and evaluate our efforts in 90 communities and will develop the model for replication across the Commonwealth.”
Nancy Mahan, Sr. Vice President of Bay Cove Human Services
“Homelessness is an awful experience for anyone to endure, but to cope with such hardship in one's elder years and suffer debilitating medical and behavioral health challenges, is beyond what any human can bear. We are grateful to the AG’s Office for their partnership and support to develop a specialized weekend Adult Day Health that can care for our communities' most vulnerable seniors.”
David E. Phelps, President and CEO of Berkshire Health Systems
“Mental health services are critical to the Berkshire community, and Berkshire Health Systems, in collaboration with our community partners, is committed to providing comprehensive care for this highly vulnerable population. We believe this generous grant will significantly facilitate this team effort through the use of new technology – telepsychiatry – and we are grateful to the Attorney General for recognizing the significant need for enhanced mental health services in the Berkshires. We will work with our partners and also recruit new partners to achieve improved services for our community.”
Barry Bock, CEO, Boston Health Care for the Homeless
“We are so grateful to the Attorney General and the AG’s Office for this grant which will allow BHCHP to expand Behavioral Health services and afford for greater integration of behavioral health and primary care. There is a high burden of mental illness and substance use for a significant cohort of patients that we care for; this funding will allow us to greatly expand access to care.”
Peg Sallade, Project Director, DanversCARES Coalition
"This grant will allow our school and community partners to better address the mental health and substance abuse needs of young people in our community through training and efforts to reduce the associated stigma.”
Raymond Tamasi, President and CEO of Gosnold on Cape Cod
“Gosnold is thrilled to learn of this grant award to develop and provide Telepsychiatry on Cape Cod, a service that will help us expand access and provide treatment to more individuals. It also enables us to connect with our community healthcare partners for consultation and training as we draw nearer to the full integration of behavioral health and medical care.”
Brigadier General (ret) Jack Hammond, Executive Director of the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program
“Police, Fire and Emergency First Responders as well as rehabilitation health professionals are critical partners in identifying and responding to the ‘invisible wounds’ of war among our returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families. Home Base is eager to provide education and training to this community, and extremely grateful to the Office of the Attorney General for this extraordinary commitment to improving the health of Post 9/11 veterans and their families who have served and sacrificed for our nation.”
Norma Finkelstein, Executive Director of the Institute for Health and Recovery
“Family homeless, at an all-time high in Massachusetts, is linked directly to substance use, mental illness and trauma as both causes of homelessness and as barriers to stable housing. This grant enables IHR to provide these critical behavioral health services to families living in motels and shelters in Northeastern MA, intervening in continuing family homelessness, current and future child welfare concerns, and promoting safe and stable families. Thank you to Attorney General Martha Coakley for this funding and being a visionary and dedicated public servant and leader.”
Stephen Schaffer, Chief Operating Officer/ Interim President, Judge Baker Children's Center
“Judge Baker is honored to collaborate with South Bay Mental Health and the Alliance for Inclusion and Prevention to provide training for school based clinicians south of Boston. This will provide greatly expanded access to care, and training in practices based on the most current research in the field.”
Lisa Goldblatt Grace, Co-founder and Director of My Life My Choice, a program of the Justice Resources Institute
“Justice Resource Institute is thrilled to be the recipient of a Behavioral Health Grant from the Attorney General's Office. With this grant, My Life My Choice and Boston GLASS will work in collaboration to augment services for commercially sexually exploited girls, boys, and transgender youth. Though survivor mentoring and culturally competent clinical services, this grant will make an enormous difference in the lives of many marginalized young people in our communities.”
Lori Abrams Berry, Executive Director of the Lynn Community Health Center
“LCHC strongly believes that providing mental health services in the school setting is a particularly effective way of serving the behavioral health needs of high risk children and youth and in improving their ability to learn and succeed in school. The Lynn Public Schools has been a superb leader in meeting the educational and socio-emotional needs of students and we look forward to the opportunity to continue to partner with LPS to develop needed new mental health services at the Brickett, Tracey and Ford Elementary Schools.”
Lynn Police Chief Kevin F. Coppinger
“In today’s society, the prevalence of mental illness and substance abuse problems are a major concern and often times those that are afflicted end up in the Criminal Justice system when in reality the services they need are found elsewhere. This grant will give us the opportunity to provide these victims a direct link to the services they actually need. Our goal, through the cooperation of law enforcement and the service providers, is to see a reduction in crime and drug overdoses while also seeing an increase in individuals entering and adhering to mental health and substance abuse treatment. A win-win for sure.”
Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Commissioner Marcia Fowler
“We thank the Attorney General’s Office for recognizing DMH’s Mental Health Center and its tobacco cessation efforts. This grant will enable the Department to enhance its work to address disproportionate tobacco use amount individuals with serious mental illness. Together we can decrease smoking rates and improve health outcomes for the 1,100 people who receive services through the Center.”
Laurie Martinelli, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts (NAMI Mass)
“Stigma is really just another word for discrimination. People with mental illness and their families feel the isolation every day. This grant from Martha Coakley’s office will allow NAMI to launch a statewide multi-media anti-stigma campaign – it's long overdue.”
Scott M. Bock, CEO/President of Riverside Community Care
“We are very pleased to be able to create a Transitional Community Support Program to improve access to behavioral health care for people in Norfolk and Middlesex counties.”
Seth J. Dunn, Director of Program Development at ServiceNet, Inc.
“ServiceNet will provide outreach mental health and substance abuse treatment for homeless people to help them to stabilize their lives; and to lessen the negative impact of homelessness on public health, safety, and the community.”
Charles Faris, President/CEO of Spectrum Health Systems
“In light of the current opiate abuse epidemic, this award provides us with a progressive approach to improved access to treatment, bridging an existing gap and lowering both relapse and recidivism rates, as well as saving lives.”
Nancy Paull, CEO of Stanley Street Treatment & Resource, Inc.
“SSTAR, along with District Attorney Sam Sutter's office and all partners of the Regional Task Force are thrilled to have the opportunity to develop a behavioral health program for those charged with nonviolent drug offenses. We believe that this grant will provide us the ability to impact both the mental health an addictive disorders of those in the court system who are in need of treatment.”
Elizabeth Moss, Director of The Sharewood Project
“We provide healthcare and resources for the under-served populations of the Greater Boston area, including the homeless population and those needing mental health care. We are so grateful to receive this grant, which will be used to help us better reach out to the homeless community and the mentally ill and provide the care and assistance they deserve.”
Eric Goepfert, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center
“Our Autism Behavioral Consultation (ABC) Program offers a multidisciplinary, systems and family therapy-oriented intervention to families with a child with autism, struggling to make progress with existing systems of care. It has been exciting to see our clinic help families and children improve their functioning, and this generous AGO Behavioral Health Grant will allow us to evaluate and expand our model of care.”
Frederica M. Williams, President and CEO of Whittier Street Health Center
“Despite significant expansion in our Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse services, the demand for mental health and substance abuse services is reaching a crisis point for our vulnerable populations in Boston’s urban neighborhoods. This grant from the Attorney General’s Office will allow us to add an Urgent Care component within our Urgent Care Clinic to provide immediate access to high quality care, and decreasing unnecessary Emergency Department visits.”