News & Updates
April 2021 | Issue 11
Powered by Purpose | Making a Difference | Research Updates| Worth Noting |
Leading Change | Events
Powered by Purpose
Earlier this month we witnessed a powerful moment: Derek Chauvin being found guilty on all counts for the murder of George Floyd. While the verdict gave many a sense of relief, the anxiety that preceded the court’s decision underscored the enormous fear and injustice that permeates Black and Brown communities across the country.

Even as the trial was unfolding, a 20-year-old Daunte Wright was killed just miles away during a traffic stop. The very same day of the verdict, a 15-year-old girl, Ma’Khia Bryant, was shot to death by police in Ohio – likely after calling 911 for help. 

Each new case – and there are many – adds to the heavy, implicit burden of racial trauma and imposes a significant mental health toll on individuals, families, and communities of color. Mental health advocacy today requires not only a deep understanding of the consequences of racism but a partnership with those working for racial and social justice on a larger scale.

How can we promote healing and true justice? We begin by supporting safety – not through violence and coercion, but by developing and supporting alternatives to police response that reduce the risk of violence. Other principles of trauma-informed care – collaboration, empowerment, and transparency – are essential tools for mental health advocates, just as they are for clinicians and peer supporters.

For those experiencing racial trauma right now, we at MAMH see you, we hear you, and we support you. As we look ahead to May is Mental Health Month, we are committed to working with you to promote policies and practices to eradicate racial violence, promote safety and wellbeing, and to address disparities in access to mental health information, resources, and support

Danna Mauch, PhD
President and CEO

Network of Care Massachusetts' new Culturally Responsive Behavioral Health Resource Hub
provides resources and links to services supporting the emotional and mental wellness of specific racial, ethnic, or cultural identity groups. Learn more at Network of Care MA!
Making a Difference
The Massachusetts Legislature is in the thick of budget season, and so is our advocacy to strengthen mental health and well being in the Commonwealth. On April 14, the House Ways & Means Committee released a proposed FY22 budget that included many MAMH priorities, with increased funding for the DMH Rental Subsidy Program and Elder Mental Health Outreach Teams.

However, the budget included significant gaps. MAMH worked closely with legislators to introduce amendments to:

  • Create three new Safe Haven programs to address chronic homelessness in Western, Southeast, and Northeast Mass and support services at the Pine Street Inn's New Chardon Street Program
  • Fund the creation of a Restoration Center for Middlesex County to divert individuals in behavioral health crisis away from law enforcement and emergency departments
  • Fund Network of Care Massachusetts, the singular place where all mental health and substance use programs and organizations are curated into a searchable online tool

Want to get involved? Review our budget priorities and let your legislators know that you support funding for behavioral health priorities in the Commonwealth.

Check out the Take Action page on our website!
And if you don’t already receive our Action Alerts, you can subscribe here.
Research Updates

The National Institute of Mental Health's (NIMH) EPINET supports large-scale, practice-based research to improve early psychosis treatment and interventions. A new website provides free resources for clients and their families, clinicians, and health care administrators, including information, fact sheets, and a provider map. Learn more.  

Mental Health America's (MHA) annual Work Health Survey provides new information about mental health challenges employees experienced during the pandemic. Learn more.

Loving-kindness meditation, a non-trauma focused practice intended to increase feelings of kindness and compassion, can achieve modest results as an intervention for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) roughly equivalent to group Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). Learn more.

Healthcare providers working in long-term care facilities and with experience caring for residents living with both a mental health condition and cancer are being recruited to participate in 30-60 minute interviews as part of a qualitative research study. Contact Diana Hanan to learn more.
Worth Noting
Know any artistic students? MAMH and the Massachusetts Health Council are giving young people the opportunity to express themselves creatively while raising awareness about the importance of mental healthWorks of art can win up to $200! Learn more.

What's the difference between worry, anxiety, and stress? This NY Times article explains - and provides tips for managing all of them. Learn more.

People’s ability to pay rent each month directly affects their mental health. Research - and common sense - suggest that lessening household financial stress could bolster mental health and possibly even lower rates of suicide. Learn more. 

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) offers basic materials on mental health in Spanish for patients and their families, health professionals, and the public. Their printed materials are free of charge and can be ordered in bulk. Learn more. 

The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to an increase in physician burnout due to the endless workload, increasing deaths, and lack of COVID protocols. Learn more.

SeniorAdvice provides free, online information about care options and programs supporting older adults, including information on topics like financial support and assisted living options that are available in their area. Learn more.

The National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative provides free web training for child welfare and mental health workers in all states to better understand and address the mental health needs of children, youth, and their families moving toward or having achieved permanency through adoption and guardianship. Learn more.

To find more mental health news, check us out on Facebook and Twitter!
Leading Change
Susan Tracy

This month's Leader in Change is MAMH Board member Susan Tracy - President of The Strategy Group, former state legislator, and long-time advocate for people who are homeless. Our interview with Susan describes the critical intersection between homelessness and mental health. Read more.
MAMH In the News
BNN News aired an in-depth interview with Danna Mauch to highlight the 1st Anniversary of Network of Care Massachusetts and the launch of the new Culturally Responsive Behavioral Health Resource Hub. Watch the full interview with host Chris Lovett on YouTube.

MAMH's editorial in MassLive describes how the new Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform takes necessary first steps in providing accessible, timely mental health services for children, adolescents, and families, including behavioral health urgent care. The piece was co-written with Mary McGeown, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Read the full op-ed here.

As the pandemic continues to take a toll on residents of the Commonwealth, WGBH’s story on Emergency Department “boarding” includes contributions from MAMH about the need for more housing to support timely and effective discharge. Read or listen to the full story here.
This Boston Globe editorial on the shocking treatment of people on “mental health watch” in Massachusetts prisons promotes legislative solutions developed by MAMH to divert people with mental health conditions from incarceration and ensure that those caught up in the justice system receive effective and humane treatment. Read the full editorial here. 
To find these and other articles, letters to the editor,
and stories with contributions from MAMH, visit our News page!
May 2-8, 9:00am - 5:00pm ET
Zoo New England’s Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo

In recognition of Children's Mental Health Awareness Week, MA Department of Mental Health (DMH) and Zoo New England are partnering in a Wellness Safari that combines positive outdoor activity with encouraging open, productive conversations about children’s mental health. A map will guide participants to particular animal exhibits throughout the zoos, where they will find tips on initiating family discussion and nurturing wellness and positive mental health in children. Learn more.

Even as we continue to minimize physical interaction with others to help control the spread of COVID-19, we can continue to stay engaged, learn new things, and connect with others in our community. Take advantage of the many opportunities for free, online training and resources!

April 28 and April 30, 1:00pm ET
This 2-part series hosted by the American Psychological Association (APA) and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will focus on the mental health needs of people who are unemployed. The webinars are free but registration is required. Continuing education certification is available for $15.00

May 4 and 5, 12:00pm-3pm ET
This interactive online workshop will explore values as well as navigating values conflicts that might arise when working as a peer support specialist. Participants will have a chance to reflect and share on a peer support value they are actively practicing in their relationships and a peer support value they want to practice and implement more. Cost for the workshop is $180.

May 11, 2:00pm-3:00pm ET
In connection with May is Mental Health Month, MAMH is pleased to support the MA Aging and Mental Health Coalition in hosting Preventing Evictions for At Risk Older Adults. Join us for this important webinar on the problem of housing instability and eviction for low-income older adults.

May 13 & 14, 9:00am-4:30pm ET
Boston Medical Center's Department of Psychiatry's inaugural 2021 Black Minds Matter: RISE UP Virtual Conference, which will bring together academic and community leaders to explore themes of intersectionality, youth mental health, culturally responsive treatment, and advocacy within Black mental health. Registration cost varies from $10 to $150.

May 13, 12:00pm-1:00pm ET
Talking about mental health conditions can be risky and challenging. In this webinar, individuals with lived experience will discuss their self-disclosure challenges and barriers, how they incorporate wellness strategies into their daily lives, and share their individualize recovery journeys and approaches to addressing and overcoming mental health self-stigma.

In Case You Missed It ...

The Center for Public Representation webinar COVID-19 Vaccine & The Disability Community focused on demystifying the vaccine and provided resources for Massachusetts residents seeking vaccination appointments. A recording of the event can be found here.