- Executive Office of Health and Human Services
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Major Step in Behavioral Health Help Line Implementation
Olivia James, Communications Manager
BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP) has been selected as the exclusive clinical provider for the Behavioral Health Help Line. A key component of the implementation of the Commonwealth’s Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform, the Help Line will act as an accessible “front door” to treatment, enabling Commonwealth residents to easily find available providers and services that meet their needs.
Set to launch in January 2023, the Help Line will offer a single point of contact for residents to receive real-time support, initial clinical assessment, and connection to the right mental health and SUD evaluation and treatment, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. The phone and chat line will offer real-time clinical triage and service navigation to help individuals and families access the range of treatment for mental health and addiction offered in the Commonwealth, including outpatient, urgent and immediate crisis intervention.
Importantly, MBHP has committed to placing a particular focus on historically underserved communities, and the Help Line will be accessible in more than 200 languages to strengthen the connection to behavioral health services across the Commonwealth.
“Our Administration, in close collaboration with the Legislature and community partners, has made it a priority to ensure that Massachusetts residents can access the treatment they need, when and where they need it,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “The Behavioral Health Help Line will provide residents with a much-needed clinical front door to treatment – with one phone call, text, or web chat, individuals will have access to a variety of services, including mental health assessments and referrals. MBHP will compassionately and effectively set the Help Line in motion, so that all Massachusetts residents can receive the high-quality, accessible behavioral health care they deserve.”
In February 2021, the Baker-Polito Administration launched the Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform – a multi-year blueprint, based on listening sessions and feedback from nearly 700 individuals, families, providers and other diverse stakeholders who identified the need for expanded access to treatment, more effective treatment, and improved health equity. The Behavioral Health Help Line is a critical piece of the Roadmap, that will help people connect with a provider before there’s a mental health emergency, for routine or urgent help in their community, or even right at home.
The Help Line will work in concert with other components of the Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform, including providing individuals with warm handoffs to Community Behavioral Health Centers set to open in January 2023 offering same-day evaluation and treatment referrals, timely follow-up appointments, and evidence-based treatment for mental health and SUD.
Starting in early January, any Massachusetts resident in need of a clinical assessment and support will be able to access the Help Line 24/7 via phone and text at 833-773-BHHL, as well as online at masshelpline.com. Every call, text, or chat conversation will include clinical follow up.
“The Behavioral Health Help Line will offer significantly more than traditional information and referral lines,” said Department of Mental Health Commissioner Brooke Doyle. “This Help Line team will be staffed by trained behavioral health responders who will take the time to assess the needs of the people seeking help, will assist with navigation of the system, and will also remain in contact with the caller to ensure that they have successfully connected with a provider. The ability to offer appropriate treatment to every resident – whenever and wherever they need it – has always been our mission. We look forward to working with MBHP to make this a reality.”
Under the direction of the Department of Mental Health, MBHP will become accredited as a 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline center and the Help Line will also work in close collaboration with the existing 988 line to receive warm handoffs of individuals in need of clinical assessment, assistance booking an outpatient appointment, and connection to outpatient providers.
“The Behavioral Health Help Line will give individuals a centralized resource for behavioral health support,” said Sharon Hanson, Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP). “Individuals will now have reliable, 24/7 access to clinical staff, online or by text, chat, or phone – a completely new pathway to support. We are proud to help to provide this vital resource which will enable more people to receive help, when and where they need it most.”
The Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP) manages behavioral health care for more than 500,000 MassHealth members statewide. Working with its network of more than 1,200 behavioral health providers, MBHP offers high quality, accessible, culturally sensitive health care in the Commonwealth.