For Immediate Release - May 23, 2011

Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Recognized by Harvard Kennedy School of Government for Transformations in Mental Health Treatment

Two DMH programs selected as part of Kennedy School's Top 25 Innovations Award

BOSTON - Two Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) programs were selected by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government as part of the school's Top 25 programs for "Innovations in American Government." The 25 programs selected represent the nation's leaders in creative problem-solving at the local, state, and federal levels and were chosen from a pool of more than 500 government applicants. The Ash Center will select five finalists and one winner of the Innovations in American Government Award this fall.

The two DMH programs selected are the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project and the Restraint/Seclusion Prevention Initiative. The Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project is a system of regional children's mental health consultation teams designed to help primary care providers meet the needs of children with behavioral problems. The program is funded by DMH and managed by the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership. The Restraint/Seclusion Prevention Initiative is a quality improvement effort to transform care settings and promote recovery through the prevention and reduction of restraint and seclusion in programs and facilities.

"We thank the Harvard Kennedy School and the Ash Center for recognizing the Massachusetts Department of Mental for its innovative efforts to provide quality services and supports to people with mental illness, including children," said Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. JudyAnn Bigby. "On behalf of the Patrick-Murray Administration, I offer congratulations and appreciation to Department of Mental Health Commissioner Barbara Leadholm and her entire team for their commitment to promoting quality of life, recovery, and resiliency for people of all ages with mental illness."

"We are delighted that two extraordinary DMH programs were recognized by the Harvard Kennedy School," said DMH Commissioner Barbara A. Leadholm, M.S., M.B.A. "Both programs demonstrate tremendous leadership, creativity and innovation in serving adults, youth and families who experience serious mental illnesses. I am very proud of the Department staff who lead these efforts and our partners and collaborators who extend this extraordinary work into our communities."

The programs and initiatives on the Top 25 Innovations in American Government list offer unique solutions in health and wellness, social services delivery, the environment, economic development, and education policy areas. The Innovations in American Government Awards was created by the Ford Foundation in 1985 in response to widespread pessimism and distrust in government's effectiveness. Since its inception, more than 400 government innovations across all jurisdiction levels have been recognized and have collectively received more than $20 million in grants to support dissemination efforts. Such models of good governance also inform research and academic study around key policy areas both at the Harvard Kennedy School and academic institutions worldwide. Past Innovations winners have served as the basis of case studies taught in more than 450 Harvard courses and over 2,250 courses worldwide. For more information on the Top 25 Innovations in Government click here.

About the Department of Mental Health (DMH)

Part of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, DMH provides services to adults, children and adolescents with long-term or serious mental illness and serious emotional disturbance, provides early and ongoing treatment for mental illness, and conducts research into the causes of and treatments for mental illness. Through state-operated inpatient facilities and community mental health centers and through community services and programs provided by nearly 200 mental health providers, DMH directly serves approximately 21,000 individuals, including about 3,500 children and adolescents, with severe and persistent mental illness and serious emotional disturbance.

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation

The Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence and innovation in governance and public policy through research, education, and public discussion. Three major programs support our mission: the Program on Democratic Governance; the Innovations in Government Program; and the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia.

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