February Advocacy Alert: Full-Steam Ahead
It's February and the legislative session is well underway. Here's a short update on our progress to advance  our 2019 Policy Priorities to help strengthen the public behavioral health system. 
Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in Jails and Prisons
BHSB supports HB 116 | SB 846 to expand Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in Maryland's jails and prisons. This bill would require that individuals entering state and local correctional facilities be assessed for opioid use disorders and that all forms of FDA-approved medication assisted treatment be available. The bill is modeled after a Rhode Island program that has resulted in a 60% reduction in overdose deaths for people leaving the correction facility, which has translated to a 12% reduction in overdose deaths across their general population.
Outpatient Civil Commitment (OCC) Legislative Briefing
On Tuesday, February 5th, BHSB was joined by other advocates to provide a briefing on the Outpatient Civil Commitment (OCC) Pilot. The OCC pilot in Baltimore has been delivering a comprehensive range of community-based services to eligible individuals with mental illness. This session, BHSB supports SB 403  |  HB 427   which expands OCC to allow
other jurisdictions in Maryland to to participate in the program.
Budget Hearings
The Governor’s FY 2020 budget includes a full 3.5% rate increase for the community behavioral health services and funding for Baltimore City's Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion(LEAD). The budget hearings for Maryland's Behavioral Health Administration are:
  • House Appropriations Committee Hearing: February 27
  • Senate Budget and Tax Committee Hearing: March 1
Save the Date for the Maryland Behavioral Health Coalition March on Annapolis – February 20th at 12 pm  
Be an advocate for behavioral health and wellness! March with us and make your voice heard in Annapolis on February 20, 2019 at 12:00 pm for the Maryland Behavioral Health Coalition March on Annapolis. To learn more visit KeepTheDoorOpen.org .
Harm Reduction Advocacy Day- February 26th
Join us on February 26th for the second annual Harm Reduction Advocacy Day! Transportation is available. Food will be provided and there will be an opportunity to participate in a short advocacy training. Please register here and share the  Facebook event with your networks!
Children's Mental Health Matters Week
Children's Mental Health Matters Week is May 5 - 11, 2019. We are proud to be a community champion for children's mental health! Click here to learn more and join us!
Stoop Storytelling Series: Out of Stigma’s Shadow
On March 21, 2019 there will be a Stoop Storytelling Series about mental health. Out of Stigma’s Shadow: True, personal stories about mental health, mental illness, and the mysteries inside our heads is currently seeking story submissions. Click here if you are interested in sharing your story.