Mental and Behavioral Health

Position Statement

The CHNA9 supports policies that improve access to mental and behavioral health services, such as:

  • Parity for mental and behavioral health services in line with medical services, including the coverage of routine preventive mental health services and telehealth/audio-only services
  • Reimbursement for and certification of community health workers
  • Policies and funding aimed at increasing the diversity and number of clinical and nonclinical providers of mental and behavioral health services
  • A streamlined, no wrong door approach to addiction services
  • Policies and funding that increase access to school-based services, telehealth/audio-only/text-based services, peer recovery and community-based services
  • Increased diversion to treatment options for non-violent offenders
  • Policies that encourage treatment and restorative justice for youth violating substance use policies and discourage mandatory penalties and "strike" systems
  • Record-sealing policies that enable people in recovery to access jobs and housing free of stigma
  • Reimbursement for disability and language access services in the mental health setting
  • Increased data on suicide and increased training and resources for veterans agents, first responders, and others serving high-risk populations


Harm Reduction

Overdose prevention centers (sometimes called safe consumption sites) are legally sanctioned harm-reduction facilities where people who use drugs can be monitored and cared for by trained health care workers. In addition to preventing lethal overdoses, these facilities are designed to connect patients with social services, including drug treatment and recovery services. Leading medical and public health experts support H.1981/S.1242, which would establish a pilot program for cities and towns that are interested in establishing overdose prevention centers.

Every overdose is preventable, and Massachusetts has an opportunity to prove it. The Massachusetts ACLU ask you to urge your lawmakers to pass this important legislation.