South Shore Mental Health Applauds Passage of Historic Excellence in Mental Health Act
Community health services got a boost as Sen. Debbie Stabenow's "Excellence in Mental Health Act" was finally passed by the Senate and was signed into law by President Barack Obama. The legislation is expected to expand access to community mental health services and strengthen the quality of care provided for those living with mental illness.
"This new law is a landmark step forward in the effort to expand community mental health services for people living with mental illness and reduce the stigma around mental illness," said Stabenow. "This is an important issue that touches all of our families in some way and this is one of the most significant steps in decades to expand access to care," she added.
Stabenow said it could take a few years to set up the program and the passage of the Excellence in Mental Health Act is perhaps the most significant piece of legislation since President Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Act of 1963.
The legislation included $900 million to establish a two year demonstration program in eight states to offer a broad range of mental health and substance use treatment services, including 24-hour crisis psychiatric services, while setting new standards for provider organizations.
"This represents the largest single federal investment in community-based mental and substance use treatment in well over a generation," said Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health. "After decades of devastating funding cuts, this represents a turning point in terms of federal support of community mental health services. As many as 240,000 people will be able to receive critical behavioral health services as a result of Excellence Act funding. Much work remains to ensure quality mental health and substance use treatment services are available to all who need them, but today is a day for celebrating this historic moment. And for applauding the bill's tireless bipartisan champions, Senators Stabenow (D-MI) and Blunt (R-MO) along with Representatives Matsui (D-CA) and Lance (R-NJ)."
"When people receive the quality mental health and substance use treatment they need, the benefits extend far beyond the individual, to their families, their professional colleagues and their community at large," said Rosenberg. "We are all better off when quality mental health and substance use services are available."
The National Council for Behavioral Health and South Shore Mental Health has long been a champion of the Excellence Act, which expands access to evidenced-based community health care for children and adults with serious and persistent mental illnesses and addiction disorders. The legislation will reduce high hospital emergency room utilization among persons living with behavioral health conditions, while easing the burden on hard-pressed law enforcement agencies in urban and rural areas. Additionally, the Excellence Act demonstration will assist the young men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with service-connected mental disorders, including clinical depression and PTSD.
Harry Shulman, LICSW
South Shore Mental Health
The Association for Behavioral Healthcare (ABH), a statewide organization representing over 80 community-based behavioral healthcare provider organizations, announced its 2013 Recognition Awards recipients at its Salute to Excellence event today. Each year, ABH recognizes human service employees, young people, consumer and family advocates and others who have made outstanding contributions to the field of mental health and addiction treatment. South Shore Mental Health was honored with the Excellence in Best Practices award for its Discovery Day Treatment Program.
Discovery Day Treatment is a Day Treatment Program that provides services for individuals living with chronic mental illness. The treatment team is comprised of social workers, mental health counselors, expressive therapists, and peers. The Program has evolved over the years to provide a variety of innovative group programming including DBT skills groups, art therapy groups, computer networking training, and extended hours with new recreational facilities. Congratulations on a job well done!
Discovery Community Members decorated a tree of Peace and Hope in honor of the Victims and Heroes of the Boston Marathon Bombings. Each circle represents a token of our love and support for Boston.