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Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Implements Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform, Announces Opening of Community Behavioral Health Centers and Behavioral Health Help Line

The 24/7 Clinical Behavioral Health Help Line, Community-Based Crisis Intervention, and 25 Community Behavioral Health Centers Strengthen Access to Behavioral Health Services
For immediate release:
1/03/2023
  • Executive Office of Health and Human Services

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Implements Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform, Announces Opening of Community Behavioral Health Centers and Behavioral Health Help Line

Cecille Joan Avila, Media Relations Manager

Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the implementation of its Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform with the opening of 25 Community Behavioral Health Centers (CBHCs), community-based crisis intervention services, and launch of the 24/7 Behavioral Health Help Line. This marks a historic development in access to behavioral health services across the Commonwealth. Built with input from health care providers, medical professionals, legislators, and individuals and families across Massachusetts, the Roadmap demonstrates the commitment the Commonwealth has made to making behavioral health just as much a priority as physical health. 

The launch of the Help Line, mobile crisis services, and CBHCs introduces a new “front door” to behavioral health care for Massachusetts residents, making it easier for residents to find and access behavioral health services, reducing reliance on hospital emergency rooms and improving and streamlining the availability of behavioral health clinical services for adults and youth.

“Over the past eight years, our administration has worked in partnership with providers, clinicians and communities to strengthen capacity and access in the behavioral health system,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With the implementation of these important initiatives from the Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform, we are taking another important step to ensuring our residents can get the help they need, which is especially crucial given the continued need for behavioral health services as we emerge from the pandemic. I want to thank Secretary Sudders, the team at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and all our partners for their work on this initiative and we look forward to seeing the lasting impact of Roadmap for years to come.”

“The Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform was the result of conversations with providers, patients and families in communities across the Commonwealth,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Today with the launch of Community Behavioral Health Centers and the Help Line, we are taking a critical step toward making the vision of the Roadmap a reality. We are grateful to the providers and behavioral health professionals across the Commonwealth who have made this day a reality.”

“Today, the Commonwealth implements a ground-breaking initiative dedicated to creating accessible, high-quality behavioral health care for residents, with an integrated care model designed with the unique needs of the patient in mind,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “This Administration has made behavioral health a priority, always with the goal of true parity. With the implementation of the Roadmap, all Massachusetts residents have access to the behavioral health care services they need, through a ‘front door’ to care that will relieve the burden on our hospital emergency departments and simplify the process of receiving treatment for patients and their loved ones.”

“Our mission has always been to offer comprehensive, integrated treatment to every Massachusetts resident, whenever and wherever they need it,” said Commissioner of Mental Health Brooke Doyle. “Today, we are taking a historic step forward in that mission, as we ensure that behavioral health remains an integral and accessible part of health care throughout the Commonwealth. The Department of Mental Health is committed to expanding and expediting access to these critical behavioral health services for all residents, regardless of ability to pay.”

“As a signature action capping two terms of improvements to the Commonwealth’s behavioral health system, the Administration today implements a reframed and responsive ambulatory care system informed by the needs and testimony of people who depend on behavioral health care in our state,” said President and CEO of Massachusetts Mental Health Danna Mauch. “The first-ever Behavioral Health Help Line is for all of us regardless of insurance and is designed as a 24/7 gateway to care system navigation – ensuring timely access to urgent care and robust crisis services integrated with Community Behavioral Health Centers (CBHCs) and designated primary and specialty care practices.”

Announced in 2021, the Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform is a multi-year blueprint, based on listening sessions and feedback from nearly 700 individuals, families, providers, and other stakeholders who identified the need for expanded access to treatment, more effective treatment, and improved health equity. The implementation marks a new, centralized service for people or their loved ones to call, text or walk in to get connected to mental health and addiction treatment. In addition to this front door, the Roadmap proposed reforms to make outpatient assessment and treatment more readily available.

Three major outcomes of the Roadmap are:

  • A network of 25 Community Behavioral Health Centers in communities across the state, designated and funded by the Administration, that serve as an entry point for timely, high-quality, and evidence-based treatment for mental health conditions and substance use disorders, including routine appointments, urgent visits, and community-based crisis intervention. To learn more, click here.
  • 24/7 mobile community-based crisis intervention and stabilization services that will serve as an alternative to hospital emergency departments.
  • A new, 24/7 Behavioral Health Help Line, which offers 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 in more than 200 languages 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. Every call, text, or chat conversation will include clinical follow up. The Help Line is available through phone or text at 833-773-BHHL, as well as chat online at masshelpline.com.

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Implements Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform, Announces Opening of Community Behavioral Health Centers and Behavioral Health Help Line

Executive Office of Health and Human Services 

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services is the largest secretariat in state government and is comprised of 12 agencies, in addition to 2 soldiers’ homes and the MassHealth program. Our efforts are focused on the health, resilience, and independence of the one in four residents of the Commonwealth we serve. Our public health programs touch every community in the Commonwealth.

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