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Advancing behavioral health equity – start in schools

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Many factors impact the behavioral health of our school children. The COVID-19 pandemic is an obvious contributor, but so is the issue of behavioral health equity. Long before the pandemic, children’s mental health was a growing crisis. According to the Surgeon General’s 2021 advisory on youth mental health, up to 1 in 5 children ages 3 to 17 struggled with a reported mental, emotional, developmental or behavioral disorder. Additionally, approximately half of the 7.7 million children with a treatable mental health disorder did not receive adequate treatment.1 What is behavioral health equity? Behavioral Health Equity is the right to access quality health care for all populations regardless of the individual’s race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or geographical location….

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Grants from Beacon Health Options help organizations tackle the opioid crisis

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To help fight the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts, Beacon Health Options, along with its partner the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP), distributed more than $250,000 in grants to four community-based behavioral health organizations. Covering a two-year period, the funding helped increase access to medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), an evidence-based approach to effectively treating OUD. Beacon’s grant initiative helped enhance and increase access to life-saving treatment. Grantees took on everything from the expansion of telehealth, to solving transportation problems, to using smartphone technology to help individuals get MOUD services. Read on for a closer look at outcomes from this grant initiative. Grantees for the 2019 – 2021 grant period include: Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program Bournewood Health…

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Accreditation drives crisis response excellence

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With the implementation of 988 fast approaching in July 2022, crisis expertise is important now more than ever. (If you’re not familiar with 988, the number will provide immediate access to a network of crisis centers prepared to respond to mental health crises similar to the access 911 provides to services for medical emergencies.) Driven by legislation calling for the enhancement of crisis and suicide prevention hotlines and the creation of 988, there is renewed focus on crisis-specific accreditation that promotes excellence in crisis response through standardized best practices and training. It is strongly recommended by healthcare experts, lawmakers and regulatory bodies such as Federal Communications Commission (FCC).   For behavioral health and crisis services providers looking to be an active…

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Helping kids cope in challenging times: 4 helpful tips

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Everyday life can feel overwhelming to even the strongest adult. It’s not surprising then, that children often have a difficult time understanding – much less coping – with modern stressors. Acts of violence, the threat of school shootings, civic unrest and anxiety about COVID-19 are just a few of the many challenges facing our kids. Fortunately, parents, school officials and other caregivers can take action to help children understand the world around them and learn positive coping skills. While the child’s age and developmental stage should inform your approach, here are some general tips for helping kids cope with challenging situations: Have open and honest conversations about safety. Be honest with children about the dangers that exist but do so…

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Beacon supports NLGA’s efforts to better prevent suicide and care for people in mental health crisis

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Wendy Martinez Farmer, Beacon Crisis Leader Nine years ago, I was driving home through Atlanta rush hour concerned I would not make it in time to pick up my 2-year-old from daycare. Traffic was heavy and I was already running late after handling a crisis at work. Suddenly, I started experiencing crushing chest pain that radiated down both arms and up into my jaw. Without much conscious thought, I pulled off the highway, turned into a convenience store, bought an aspirin, chewed it and looked at the store clerk and said “please call 911, I am having a heart attack.” Within seconds, bystanders who also seemed instinctively to know what to do stepped in to keep me calm and even contacted…

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