A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Children’s Mental Health in the News

Children’s Mental Health in the News

June 11, 2008

This week, there were two articles published in local papers highlighting the need for reform of the Massachusetts’ children’s mental health system.

On Monday, the Salem News ran a letter from Dr. Walter Harrison, a pediatrician and the chair of the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Children’s Mental Health Task Force. In his letter, Dr. Harrison commends the Senate in general, and Senator Fred Berry in particular, for having the foresight to provide new funds to schools that will allow them to access mental health consultative services for their students. As he writes, “Teachers, guidance counselors and principals observe the behavior and interactions of their students on a daily basis. Often, teachers are the ones who recognize that something is amiss with a student. By providing mental health consultative services to schools, teachers are empowered to better understand what may be happening in the lives of their students.”

On Wednesday, Kathy O’Loughlin spoke to the failings of the current system from a very personal perspective in the Lowell Sun. The former head of Delta Dental, Kathy and her husband have three children with significant mental health needs. Her family’s experiences with the mental health system reveal frightening shortcomings that must be addressed.

The legislature has an opportunity to take action that will directly benefit children living with mental illness. S. 2518, An Act Relative To Children’s Mental Health, makes reforms that will allow those in need to access necessary care and services. However, time is quickly running out – there is less than 7 weeks for the House and Senate to pass the bill. Currently, S. 2518 is pending action by the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Connect with HCFA's Children's Mental Health campaign (www.hcfama.org/cmh) to make your voice heard. The time is now! Our kids can’t wait.
Matt Noyes