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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
988
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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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National Gratitude Month 2021: Why focusing on the positive helps improve physical and mental well-being

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Gratitude’s amazing powers can shift us from focusing on the negative to appreciating what is positive in our lives. Taking the time to remember all the things to be thankful for—especially during the pandemic—that simple act of gratitude, of appreciating the good in our lives, and those around us, can help improve physical, emotional, and mental health. And with November being #NationalGratitudeMonth, it is a nice reminder that the simple act of taking the time to be thankful can help improve our lives. The quality of being thankful improves physical and mental well-being. “Gratitude erases negativity. Every time you think “this isn’t my day,” stop for a second,  and start going over in your mind everything you have to be grateful…

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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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A time to reflect on suicide prevention

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Trigger Warning: The below blog post is focused on suicide prevention, suicide, and mental healthcare We know from our State of the Nation’s Mental Health Report that in spite of Americans’ increased emotional distress resulting from the pandemic, there is a disconnect between this escalated distress and a flat rate of diagnosis in 2020. Suicide can be the result of an untreated mental health condition. One in four young adults globally are estimated to be experiencing depression in 2020 and 2021, according to a global study published in JAMA. We believe mental health is health. Physical and mental health are linked and must be addressed equally and in tandem for overall, whole-person health. It is critical that anyone thinking about…

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