"May is mental health awareness month. 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 6 youth experience mental illness each year. "
Learn more at: www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth
Providing accurate and timely information about what matters in Franklin, MA since 2007. * Working in collaboration with Franklin TV and Radio (wfpr.fm) since October 2019 *
"May is mental health awareness month. 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 6 youth experience mental illness each year. "
Learn more at: www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth
April is stress awareness month. Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and more.
Learn more at: www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/stress-coping
|Health Department: Weekly Wellness Update shares resources on Stress and Coping|
An important reminder!
|What do disabilities look like?|
We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm).
For additional information, please visit the Health Dept page at www.Franklinma.gov
If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at email@example.com
The music for the intro and exit is called “Positive and Fun” by Scott Holmes Music and is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
Scott Holmes Music => https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Holmes
You can also subscribe and listen to "The Topic" audio on your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "The Topic"
|Danielle Hopkins & Heath Nisbett talk Music Therapy with Cathleen Liberty in this episode of "The Topic"|
"Like many high school athletes, Bobby, 16, a junior from Long Island, has spent years whipping his body into shape through protein diets and workouts.Between rounds of Fortnite and homework, Bobby goes online to study bodybuilders like Greg Doucette, a 46-year-old fitness personality who has more than 1.3 million YouTube subscribers. Bobby also hits his local gym as frequently as six days a week.“Those guys made me realize I wanted to get bodies like them and post stuff like them,” said Bobby, who has fluffy curls of dark hair and the compact frame of a gymnast. (The New York Times is not publishing the surnames of minors or the names of their parents in this article to protect their privacy.)"
|Yes, the photo images create problems for boys too|
|The SAFE Coalition Hotline answered 94 calls for help in January 2022|
Catching up to sharing the video and presentation document from the Critical Conversations event held on Nov 18, 2021.
“The Franklin Public Schools Substance Abuse Task Force teamed up with the SAFE Coalition to host the Critical Conversations Panel. This event was held online and in person at Franklin High School on November 18th, 2021. The panel featured 7 speakers with various perspectives representing education, health care, law enforcement, parent/guardians, and people with lived experience. The conversation focused on identifying and addressing mental health and substance use among families and within our community.”
As with most meetings/events in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter while I attended the meeting in the FHS auditorium.
The Twitter hashtag #CC1118 can be found online The thread begins with
|part of the "Hidden in Plain Sight" display|
Special Event: Mindfulness & Stress Mngt
Thursday November 18th: 2 - 4 pm
Unemployment, the job search, and career pivoting are exhausting for most of us. The constant rejection, lack of feedback, and self-imposed pressure take a toll.
Come join us and learn methods for sustaining your morale.
Special Guest: Megan McDonough
Founder and CEO of the Wholebeing Institute and
award-winning author of Infinity In a Box and A Minute for Me
|50+ Jobseekers Program Special Event: Mindfulness - Nov 18|
Senate Unveils Mental Health ABC Act 2.0: Addressing Barriers to Care
Bill works in tandem with landmark investments in mental and behavioral health
to transform mental health care delivery
Today (11/09/2021), the Massachusetts Senate unveiled its Mental Health ABC Act 2.0: Addressing Barriers to Care (ABC) (S2572), comprehensive legislation to continue the process of reforming the way mental health care is delivered in Massachusetts, with the goal of ensuring that people get the mental health care they need when they need it. This legislation comes at a time when the Massachusetts State Senate is making landmark investments in mental and behavioral health, including $400 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to transform the behavioral health sector, with $122 million dedicated to recruiting and retaining nearly 2,000 behavioral professionals.
The Mental Health ABC Act 2.0 is driven by the recognition that mental health is as important as physical health for every resident of the Commonwealth and should be treated as such. The bill proposes a wide variety of reforms to ensure equitable access to mental health care and remove barriers to care by supporting the behavioral health workforce.
"This important bill will put policies place to ensure that people get the mental health care they need, when they need it and provide a national model for how we can create an integrated and comprehensive health care system that treats mental health the same as physical health," stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). "Out of the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is reason for hope, because we are no longer talking about the need for quality mental and behavioral health care in whispers, shamed by stigma. As we all face the emotional difficulties and social isolation of the pandemic, people across our Commonwealth are talking about their struggles with mental health, and the call for quality mental health care is now a roar. I'd like to thank Senators Cyr, Friedman and Rodrigues for their hard work and collaboration on this bill, and the many advocates, individuals and families who have fought for changes to our mental health care delivery system and who have never given up."
"Too many people in Massachusetts struggle to access the mental health services they desperately need and deserve," said Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. "The Mental Health ABC Act 2.0 is an important step towards realizing the Senate's vision to transform how the Commonwealth addresses mental health. I am deeply grateful to Senate President Karen Spilka for her leadership and example, and to Senators Friedman and Rodrigues for their partnership in this most urgent endeavor."
"For far too long, mental health has been a forgotten component of our healthcare system despite our statutory parity mandate that calls for equitable coverage between medical and surgical treatment and mental health treatment," said Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. "This bill serves as a first step forward in addressing the persisting inequities in our delivery of mental health services that keep patients from accessing the care they need, and will provide a framework for the state to better enforce our mental health parity laws. I want to thank Senate President Spilka, Chair Rodrigues, and Senator Cyr for their thoughtful collaboration on this initiative and shared commitment to reforming our mental health care system so it is accessible, affordable, and equitable for all."
"The Mental Health ABC Act 2.0 is a landmark step toward making sure people can get the mental health care they need when they need it," said Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. "The Senate's targeted investments in mental health in the ARPA bill and the FY22 budget have made it clear that cost of action on this issue is far less than the cost of inaction, for the sake of all residents of the Commonwealth. I applaud Senate President Spilka for her compassionate and steadfast leadership on this issue, and Senators Cyr and Friedman for their diligent work to build upon last session's ABC Act and put forward a comprehensive bill that will ensure equitable access to mental health care for all."
Additions to the original version of the Mental Health ABC Act contained in this legislation include: guaranteeing an annual mental health wellness exam at no cost to the patient; creating an online portal that enables access to real-time data to move patients from emergency to appropriate care; establishing a complex case resolution panel to help resolve barriers to care for children with complex behavioral health needs who find themselves in the emergency room; requiring the Office of the Child Advocate and the Health Policy Commission to issue reports on child emergency department boarding; creating a standard release form; expanding access to psychiatric care by requiring the state-contracted and commercial health plans to cover mental health and substance use disorder benefits offered through the psychiatric collaborative care model; incentivizing investments in acute psychiatric services; and establishing an Office of Behavioral Health Promotion.
The following is an overview of The Mental Health ABC Act 2.0.
Ensuring Equitable Access to Mental Health Care
Guaranteeing Annual Mental Health Wellness Exams. The idea that a person's mental health is just as important as a person's physical health is the cornerstone of this reform. This bill would codify this principle by mandating coverage for an annual mental health wellness exam, comparable to an annual physical.
Enforcing Mental Health Parity Laws. Mental health parity as a concept is simple: insurance coverage for mental health care should be equal to insurance coverage for any other medical condition. This concept has been codified in federal and state law for decades, but enforcement of the law has been challenging. As a result, inequities persist, and patients are often denied coverage for mental health treatment that is every bit as critical to managing their health as treatment for diabetes or heart disease.
This bill provides the state with better tools to implement and enforce our parity laws by creating a clear structure for the Division of Insurance to receive and investigate parity complaints to ensure their timely resolution. Other tools include parity enforcement for commercial, state-contracted and student health insurance plans, greater reporting and oversight of insurance carriers' mental health care coverage processes and policies, and reasonable penalties and alternative remedies for when an insurance company does not comply with the law.
Addressing the Emergency Department Boarding Crisis. For many adults and children in the grips of a mental health crisis, the fastest way to get help is to go to a hospital emergency department (ED). Sadly, when they need to be admitted to an inpatient psychiatric unit, it can be days, weeks, or even months before they're admitted. Meanwhile, the person must often wait in the ED, receiving little to no psychiatric care. This is referred to as 'ED boarding' and it has increased up to 400% since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Given the severity and urgency of the state's ED boarding crisis, this bill tackles the issue in several ways, by:
Addressing ED boarding will help families experiencing acute mental health crises receive timely care.
Reimbursing Mental Health Providers Equitably. Mental health and primary care providers are reimbursed at different rates for the same service. The bill seeks to level the playing field for reimbursement to mental health providers by requiring an equitable rate floor for evaluation and management services that is consistent with primary care.
Reforming Medical Necessity and Prior Authorization Requirements. When an adult or child arrives in an emergency department in the throes of acute mental health crises requiring immediate treatment in an appropriate setting, clinical determinations should be made by the treating clinician. In practice, however, insurance carriers impose too many restrictions on providers' clinical judgement in terms of prior approval and concurrent review requirements for mental health services.
This results in barriers to, and delays in, treatment for patients who need immediate care, creating a dysfunctional system that allows insurance companies to have more leverage in determining a patient's course of treatment than health care providers.
This bill mandates coverage and eliminates prior authorization for mental health acute treatment and stabilization services for adults and children; requires MassHealth and commercial insurance companies to follow a uniform set of criteria established by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) for medical necessity and utilization management determinations for treatments for substance use disorder (SUD); and ensures that if a health insurance company intends to change its medical necessity guidelines, the new guidelines must be easily accessible by consumers on the health insurance company's website.
This bill also establishes a special commission to bring all stakeholders to the table to study and make recommendations on the creation of a common set of medical necessity criteria to be used by health care providers and insurance carriers for mental health services.
Creating a Standard Release Form. Behavioral health providers struggle in the era of electronic health records and care coordination to create systems that simultaneously protect an individual's right to consent to share sensitive health information and allow practitioners to access the information they need to treat the individual and coordinate care. This bill would direct the development of a standard release form for exchanging confidential mental health and substance use disorder information to facilitate access to treatment by patients with multiple health care providers.
Increasing Access to Emergency Service Programs. Emergency Service Programs (ESPs), which are community-based and recovery-oriented programs that provide behavioral health crisis assessment, intervention, and stabilization services for people with psychiatric illness, are currently covered by MassHealth. The bill would require commercial insurance companies to cover ESPs as well.
Expanding Access to the Evidence-Based Collaborative Care Model. The collaborative care model delivers mental health care in primary care through a team of health care professionals, including the primary care provider, a behavioral health care manager, and a consulting psychiatrist. This evidence-based access to mental health care has proven effective, less costly, and less stigmatizing. The bill would expand access to psychiatric care by requiring the state-contracted and commercial health plans to cover mental health and substance use disorder benefits offered through the psychiatric collaborative care model.
Reviewing the Role of Behavioral Health Managers. Some insurance companies have subcontracted mental health benefits to specialty utilization management companies for years with mixed results. The bill directs the Health Policy Commission, in consultation with the Division of Insurance, to study and provide updated data on the use of contracted mental health benefit managers by insurance carriers, often referred to as "carve-outs."
Incentivizing Investment in Acute Psychiatric Services. This bill would create an exemption from the Department of Public Health's determination of need process to incentivize health care facilities to invest in and develop more acute psychiatric services across the Commonwealth, including inpatient, community-based acute treatment, intensive community-based treatment, a continuing care unit and partial hospitalization programs.
Tracking and Analyzing Behavioral Health Expenditures. This bill includes a critical first steps toward incentivizing greater investments in mental health care within the analysis of statewide health care cost growth. Specifically, the bill directs the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) to define and collect data on the delivery of mental health services to establish a baseline of current spending; and directs the Health Policy Commission (HPC) to begin tracking mental health care expenditures as part of its annual cost trends hearings.
Establishing an Office of Behavioral Health Promotion. Current behavioral health services are spread across state agencies. This dilutes the responsibility for mental health promotion and focus on the issues and undermines the important work being done. This bill would establish an Office of Behavioral Health Promotion within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) to coordinate all state initiatives that promote mental, emotional, and behavioral health and wellness for residents.
Increasing Access to Care in Geographically Isolated Areas. This bill would direct the Department of Mental Health (DMH) to consider factors that may present barriers to care—such as travel distance and access to transportation—when contracting for services in geographically isolated and rural communities.
Removing Barriers to Care by Supporting the Behavioral Health Workforce
Creating a Roadmap on Access to Culturally Competent Care. This initiative builds off an academic study mandated and funded through the Commonwealth's Fiscal Year 2021 budget to review the availability of and barriers to accessing culturally competent mental health care providers. Under this provision, an interagency health equity team under the Office of Health Equity, working with an advisory council, would make annual recommendations for the next three years to improve access to, and the quality of, culturally competent mental health services. Paired with the Senate's ARPA investment of $122 million in the behavioral health workforce through loan repayment assistance programs, this roadmap will make great strides toward building a robust workforce reflective of communities' needs.
Allows for an Interim Licensure for Licensed Mental Health Counselors. The bill would create an interim licensure level for Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) so that they can be reimbursed by insurance for their services and be eligible for state and federal grant and loan forgiveness programs, further increasing the number of licensed providers able to serve patients.
Expanding Mental Health Billing. This bill would allow clinicians practicing under the supervision of a licensed professional and working towards independent licensure to practice in a clinic setting. This will help to ensure quality training and supervision and encourage clinicians to stay practicing in community-based settings.
Updating the Board of Registration of Social Workers. The bill would update the membership of the Board of Registration of Social Workers to clarify that designees from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Department of Public Health (DPH) be licensed social workers.
This legislation builds upon the original Mental Health ABC Act, passed by the Senate in 2020, important provisions of which have been signed into law, including:
This legislation also comes at a time when the Massachusetts State Senate is making transformative investments in mental and behavioral health, including:
The Senate is scheduled to debate the Mental Health ABC 2.0 Act next week.
Boston Globe coverage of proposal https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/11/09/metro/mass-senators-unveil-wide-ranging-mental-health-measure/
"It's more important than ever to practice self-care and support your mental health. Relax, stay socially connected at a safe distance, and take a deep breath.
If you're in a crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. #StopSuicide" https://t.co/745s6GoH8i
Shared from Twitter: https://twitter.com/MassDPH/status/1440380331077496835?s=03
|Mass. Public Health reminds us to practice self-care and support your mental health|
"Amid a nationwide push to rethink policing strategies and reduce the use of force when possible, a new Boston program seeks to scale back police involvement in 911 mental-health calls.Last month, Acting Mayor Kim Janey announced a pilot program encouraging greater use of mental-health workers, EMTs and trained community members during 911 mental health calls. In a city that received 10,000 such calls last year, officials are seeking to de-escalate fragile mental-health interactions while easing the strain on police resources.“This mental-health response will help us evaluate how to deliver the best possible response for our residents when they are in crisis,” Janey said during an Aug. 5 press conference. “These investments will help connect residents and their families with the care they need. They will also help us send officers to where they are needed most.”
"In the 1980s, I taught for a year in the Deep South and had a love affair along the kudzu-snarled banks of the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Penelope (not her real name) was a love child who’d been adopted and raised in Missouri by a conservative Baptist family. She once told me if I wanted to understand the South, I needed to listen to “Ode to Billie Joe.” These memories came back recently as I tried to comprehend anti-vaxxers, voting restrictions, Southern leaders seemingly intent on disaster, and, most of all, the Texas law prohibiting most abortions.“Ode to Billie Joe,” written and recorded by Bobbie Gentry in 1967, is an elegy that became a hit in many countries, knocking “All You Need Is Love” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” out of the number one spot on the charts. The song and album won three Grammys. Gentry was just 23 years old when the Southern Gothic song she wrote, sang, and produced caused a sensation. Her manuscripts can be found alongside those of Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner in the archives of the University of Mississippi, in the state where she was born."
"There are certain types of weather that are better for depressives,” the comedian Aparna Nancherla says in a 2016 stand-up special. “I love it when it rains. It reminds me of why I got into the whole sad game, you know? . . . Whenever it’s pouring outside, as a sad person you can turn to any random optimist on the street and just be like ‘Hey! You’re in my world now.’”In January 2019, the comedian and TV writer Jaboukie Young-White tweeted, “How are people out here with no therapy not taking any prescribed or illicit drugs just raw dogging reality[?]” A few months later, he followed up with: “Yall ever drink an iced coffee so strong that for like 4 minutes you have hope[?]”
The Survive to Thrive Sibling Support Group is offered for youth who have siblings with mental health and behavioral health challenges living in the home. Ben Speaks’ knows the wide-ranging impact that mental health issues can have on families, and looks to serve as a resource to youth that are impacted by the stigma, volatilities, and demands placed on families.
Siblings of family members with mental health needs may experience challenges and disruptions in their own emotional growth and development. This group will provide these youth with a nurturing environment to share their unique experiences of having a sibling with mental health needs, engage in empowering and fun expressive activities, and develop their own skills and resources, so that they may thrive in face of the challenges that they and their families encounter.
What is the Sibling Support Group?
• Group is open to youth ages 11-14 years old, living in MetroWest Massachusetts, who have siblings that struggle with mental health and behavioral health issues living in the home.
• Group sessions will include opportunities for both open and themed discussions, expressive art activities, age appropriate learning about mental health challenges and their impacts on families, and empowerment skills to enhance emotion regulation and effective communication.
• This program will be conducted virtually via ZOOM meetings. A reliable internet connection will be required. We will send all virtual meeting links and information via email after registration.
• 10 weeks - 1.5 hours each week (No group will be held September 16 due to Yom Kippur)
• Facilitated by Bretton Torkelson, Psy.D., Judy Giovangelo, Michael Giovangelo and Penny Young; Members of the Ben Speaks’ Board of Directors.
• Cost: This program made possible through grants and sponsors. Thank you to Rockland Trust, ADM Cleaning Services, Penny Young, Judy Giovangelo, Jim McCusker & Nicole Kittredge.
Visit https://www.benspeaks.org/survivetothrive for more information & to sign up.
Download flyer as reminder to follow up or share with someone -> https://drive.google.com/file/d/1i4s3N2HfQzB9D5oFmHe8rzbmjRm1Dy5q/view?usp=sharing
Strive to Thrive: a program for "siblings of family members with mental health needs"
"Hello FAA members. I have created a community interactive display. If you happen to be near Natick please stop over to visit this very important installation. There will be a short dedication event that will have speakers and a host to help introduce the display.
It will be on Saturday 7/31 @11am First Congregational Church lawn. Address is : 2 E Central St, Natick. It is also their Farmer's Market day so there will plenty of venders if you decide to walk the common directly across the street."
FM #562 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 562 in the series.
This session of the radio show shares the Board of Health meeting held on Wednesday, June 9, 2021.
The meeting was conducted in person at the Municipal Bldg third floor training room. There was also a Zoom session for remote participation and no one did. This was the first in person meeting since Feb 2020.
Links to the meeting agenda and associated documents are included in the show notes. The recording runs about 31 minutes, so let’s listen to the Board of Health meeting for June. Audio file -> https://player.captivate.fm/episode/f82d62b7-9494-48db-9871-3c5cac165c7e
Board of Health agenda -> https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/agendas/agenda-06-09-2021_0.pdf
My notes captured from the meeting
Live reporting for Board of Health meeting underway #boh0609
Cathleen provides update on work for new podcast The Topic, to explore a variety of health issues #boh0609
Lots of ideas coming for the new podcast, BoH loves the concept #BoH0609
Discussion on emergency condemnation, slow process but underway. #BoH0609 VNA contract ending Jun 30, hiring a nurse is underway.
There is progress on the 27 Winter St property, as well as Jordan Road property. #BoH0609
(I neglected to close out the meeting when it adjourned. Had some in person conversations to distract me from the process.)
We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm) or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial.
This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.
How can you help?
If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors
If you don't like something here, please let me know
Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.
For additional information, please visit Franklinmatters.org/ or www.franklin.news/
If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com
The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana" c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.
I hope you enjoy!
You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"
|screengrab of a prior virtual Board of Health mtg|