News & Updates
March 2020 | Issue 4
Powered by Purpose | NOC-MA | COVID-19 | Research | Worth Noting | Events
Powered by Purpose
Friends, it seems like years, not just a few weeks, since my last newsletter message to you. As a mental health advocate, I’ve longed for mental health to be a topic of daily conversation, with all of us more aware of how to nurture and protect it and more familiar with what to do in the face of an emerging condition. Saddened as I am by the specter of COVID-19 as the reason for a surge in discussion about mental health, I am determined that we respond without reservation to not only the larger challenges for all of us and our families as residents of the Commonwealth in the face in this pandemic, but also to the growing needs of our constituents and partners for reliable information, feasible solutions, and sound advice in these trying times.

We have in the past and are now coming together as a community to meet the challenge, to implement solutions, to save lives, and to support one another. MAMH staff – Catia, Elise, Jess, Jenifer, Kathy, Louise, and now Stefani (Welcome to Stefani Karr, joining us as the Data Management and Engagement Manager for Network of Care!) and I – are, like all of you, managing new worries and fears and frustrations. And, we do so with high hopes for creativity, collaboration, and compassion as we navigate new terrain with our public health response to COVID-19.

Over the last two weeks, MAMH has been called on to share our expertise related to effective services and supports for people with mental health and substance use conditions, many of whom also have chronic illnesses and living conditions that increase their risk for contracting COVID-19. Our work continues to focus on prevention and effective early intervention; for example, we are working with national and state partners to advocate for resources to reduce family stress and prevent childhood trauma.  We are aligned with advocates across service systems who know that meeting the essential needs of people we serve - housing, food security, basic income - must be prioritized as part of our public health response.
With all the uncertainty we face, knowing where to turn for help is more important than ever. That's why I'm so pleased that MAMH helped launch Network of Care Massachusetts on March 16. This comprehensive, searchable directory of more than 5,000 mental health, substance use, and related social services programs and organizations helps Massachusetts residents find information on behavioral health services and treatment in their communities.
I am grateful for a community that continues to find ways to support people with mental health conditions and their families - from Recovery Learning Communities hosting virtual peer support groups, to clinicians navigating telehealth for the first time, to families finding creative ways to share space and concern for each other. Wishing you all continued health and peace in the coming weeks.

Danna Mauch, PhD
President and CEO
Network of Care Massachusetts
Take the first step toward mental health and well-being with Network of Care Massachusetts , a new online resource with a comprehensive, searchable directory to help Massachusetts residents find information on behavioral health services and treatment in their communities!

Network of Care Massachusetts includes more than 5,000 mental health, substance use, and related social services programs and organizations across the Commonwealth , including clinical services, peer-led services and peer support, and local programs to help find housing, food security, and more.
For each listing, users can find a program description and contact information, as well as information on populations served, relevant eligibility, and fee information. Learn more .
COVID-19 Mental Health Resources
With the introduction of "social distancing," finding resources to support older adults living in the community is more important than ever. The Massachusetts Councils on Aging has developed a web page with resources for senior centers and other community providers, which you can access here . In addition, MassOptions has a new menu option for people who are in need of in-home services, including those who may be experiencing an interruption of service due to the high demand and depleted resources resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. To access this telephone support with a live person, please call MassOptions at 844-422-6277 and follow the prompts or access the website here .

Massachusetts has developed a website to find information and local resources related to COVID-19 , including volunteer opportunities for health professionals. Learn more .

The Massachusetts School Mental Health Coalition has created a website hosting great resources from across the state for parents, students, and school mental health professionals to support good mental health while students are learning from home. Link here .

Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. The CDC provides information and tips for protecting your mental health while helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Link here . Mental Health America hosts a website with national resources related to supporting and maintaining mental health during the public health response to COVID-19. Link here .

As part of its COVID-19 public health response, MA has made it easier for health care providers to use telehealth and requires most state insurers to cover telehealth services . Many MA mental health clinicians are now meeting with clients via telephone or video conference to reduce the spread of COVID-19. To read the order requiring insurers to cover telehealth, link here .

While the impact of the current COVID-19 crisis is felt throughout the Commonwealth, people with disabilities and older adults are at high risk of contracting the virus. MAMH, the Center for Public Representation, and other partners are urging senior officials to ensure non-discriminatory access to life-saving treatment. Learn more .
Research Updates
A recent study estimates that COVID-19 is likely to cause at least 21,000 hospitalizations and 3,400 deaths among the 500,000 homeless single adults in the United States. The study includes a county-by-county estimate of additional shelter beds needed to save lives by supporting social distancing and isolation for people with COVID-19 symptoms. Read more.

SAMHSA's new National Guidelines for Crisis Care: A Best Practice Toolkit , developed with support from MAMH's Danna Mauch, offers strategies for program design, development, implementation, and continuous quality improvement to support recovery-oriented crisis care. Link here .

A new report from the National Academies shows that, for older adults, social isolation and loneliness are associated with an increased likelihood of early death, dementia, heart disease, and more . As we create more physical distance to protect older adults and others who are at risk of COVID-19, it's important to understand the impact of social isolation and consider strategies to mitigate it. For a free, downloadable PDF copy of the report, link here .

NIMH is recruiting adults ages 18-65 with major depression to participate in a study on the impact of a combination of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and psychotherapy on brain function . Learn more .

Sign up here to receive research news and information directly from NIMH!
Worth Noting
Today (March 30) is World Bipolar Disorder Day , and NIMH is focusing on increasing awareness about early intervention and treatment for teenagers and young adults. Download shareable resources , including information about bipolar disorder and how it is different from the normal ups and downs of adolescence and young adulthood, social media messages, infographics, and more.

The Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities National Training Center (MHDD-NTC) provides access to the most evidence-based, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive practices to address the mental health needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. Read more.

In this brief but critically important #CrisisTalk interview with Dr. Barbara DiPeitro about the imperative of addressing family homelessness , she notes that "it's hard to deescalate a mental health crisis if it doesn't fundamentally change the nature of the challenges a family is facing." Read more .

On March 4, following years of advocacy by mental health and human rights activisits, the  U.S. Food and Drug Administration  banned the use of electric shock “aversive treatment” devices , such as those used for many years at the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, MA. Read more .

This Atlantic Monthly article suggests that after infections begin ebbing, a significant increase in mental health problems will follow. Read more .
Even as we minimize our 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.

Online, on-demand trainings for the older adult workforce
MAMH's statewide, online Older Adult and Behavioral Health Training Calendar , built and maintained with generous support from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, has been updated with many online and virtual training opportunities on a broad range of topics.

On-Demand (fees from $30-45)
Greater Lynn Senior Services' Silver Otter Strategies offers a range of continuing education courses online. Conversations for Caring topics are wide-ranging and geared toward supporting people who are non-medical care providers, as well as those who work in health care settings. 
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