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Massachusetts: Primed To Lead The Way on Children’s Mental Health

Massachusetts: Primed To Lead The Way on Children’s Mental Health

July 10, 2008

Today’s Boston Globe published an op-ed from former First Lady and Chair of the Mental Health Task Force at the Carter Center, Rosalynn Carter. Mrs. Carter is a long-time advocate on children’s mental health issues, having chaired the presidential commission on mental health during President Carter’s administration.

Mrs. Carter writes: “Just as Massachusetts is the national leader in expanding health insurance coverage to all its citizens, the Massachusetts Legislature can create a model system of children's mental healthcare.”

Before the Senate is an outstanding opportunity to place the Commonwealth at the forefront of children’s mental healthcare. Senate bill 2518, An Act Relative To Children’s Mental Health, will:

  • screen children for early signs of mental illness;
  • Provide schools and early education settings with tools to better help their students;
  • Improve insurance protections for families;
  • Reduce the number of young people stuck in inappropriate institutional settings;
  • Restructure state agencies to facilitate better communication and coordination.

    As Mrs. Carter says, “This bill points the way toward a system that is comprehensive, collaborative, coordinated, and cost-effective. It would help children experience all the joys of childhood and reach their full potential.”

    As we enter the closing weeks of the legislative session, it is encouraging that the Legislature recognizes the importance of this issue and is acting to make necessary reforms.

    The time for children’s mental health is NOW.
    Matt Noyes