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Increasing behavioral health equity in Massachusetts: MBHP will award $250K in grant funding

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The Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP) is a Beacon Health Options company and a leader in helping people lead healthier lives through access to critical services. As part of its commitment to behavioral health equity and access, MBHP recently awarded more than $130K in grants to five organizations from across the Commonwealth to increase access to and engagement in behavioral healthcare for diverse populations. This funding is the first round of a grant cycle that will ultimately distribute $250K in grants focused on this pressing issue. MBHP received more than 100 submissions from across Massachusetts. After a comprehensive review and decision-making process, the following organizations were awarded grant funding: Aspire Health Alliance Community Health Network Area 17 The Learning Center…

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Crisis care saves lives through individualized services

February 16, 2022
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For 22-year-old Claire,[1] the holidays proved challenging. Within a few days of a visit home, her parents noticed that Claire wasn’t herself. She hadn’t slept for days and seemed to be losing touch with reality. As Claire’s behavior became more erratic, her father called 911. Normally a 911 call might result in an ambulance ride to the nearest emergency department (ED), or law enforcement involvement. But this call was different. The 911 dispatcher, having received specialized training from local mental health crisis collaboratives, recognized that Claire needed help from a mental health professional. Thanks to the state’s behavioral health crisis line, the dispatcher warm-transferred Claire’s father to a caring mental health associate trained in crisis response. Once connected, the mental…

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Best Practices for 988

February 7, 2022
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The nationwide 988 crisis care system goes live on July 16, 2022. This new emergency number is solely dedicated to anyone experiencing a behavioral health crisis, regardless of severity. 988 is designed to take the strain off the current 911 call system, reduce the reliance on law enforcement and lower emergency room visits while providing compassionate care for those in crisis. To realize the fundamental objectives of 988, the system will have to be more than a number. It will need to be a properly funded and coordinated eco-system of trained mental health professionals coupled with state-of-the-art resources providing a multi-touch experience that facilitates follow-up care. Consistency across counties and states will also contribute to its success. The National Alliance…

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Black Mental Health Pioneers

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This Black History Month we express our gratitude for the contributions of Black Americans who have fought, and continue to fight, for health equity. We recognize that there is more to be done to achieve equity in healthcare. Beacon Health Options is dedicated to advancing Behavioral Health Equity so that all people, regardless of race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and geographic or financial access can receive individualized care that demonstrates cultural humility and improves their health and well-being. This month, we shine a light on just a few of the pioneers who have paved the way for deeper understanding and better lives for all. From groundbreaking early research sparking debate on desegregation, to new techniques and therapies we recognize…

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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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988- The Right Call

January 19, 2022
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On July 16th of this year, the new 988 crisis care system will go live, marking the first ever nationwide number dedicated to mental health issues. Operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 988 will serve everyone regardless of insurance status. The implementation of 988 is a major step forward in our country’s emerging response to the need for improved resources when it comes to public mental health. This comes as a major relief to the two primary groups involved when a 911 call is made to address a mental health crisis: the person in crisis and law enforcement. For individuals in crisis, it’s the right response. Historically, calling 911 has been the only option for individuals experiencing…

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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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Giving Back to Those Who Give So Much

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As we celebrate National Military Families Appreciation Month and Veterans Day this November, Americans will honor and recognize the countless men and women who have sacrificed so much for our military and nation. While we honor their service, this is a good time to learn more about the silent scourge of psychological and mental challenges many veterans face daily. A Mental Health Crisis Veterans and their families face a unique and continuing mental health crisis. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, veterans face three primary mental health concerns: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Depression Traumatic brain injury (TBI) While anyone can suffer from these conditions, veterans are exposed to them far more frequently than civilians. Roughly one in nine…

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