A Healthy Blog

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

Mental Health Progress on Two Fronts

Mental Health Progress on Two Fronts

August 7, 2008

Representative BalserThis week was remarkable in terms of legislative progress in improving treatment of mental illness in Massachusetts.

On Wednesday, Governor Patrick signed Mental Health Parity legislation into law at the State House. This legislation, which was introduced by Representative Ruth Balser, expands treatment coverage for eating disorders, substance abuse, post traumatic stress disorder, and autism. In addition to improving treatments for these specific conditions, the legislation will help remove some of the stigma that still unfortunately exists around mental illness.

Advocates both inside and outside of the State House have worked toward establishing full mental health parity for many years. This new law brings us that much closer to fully realizing the full elimination of the distinction between mental and physical health.

On the children’s mental health front, An Act Relative To Children’s Mental Health continues its progress through the legislature. On Thursday morning, the Senate concurred with the technical changes the House made to the bill on July 31. With the Senate’s concurrence and engrossment, the bill moves back to the House for enactment to be followed by Senate enactment. Signals from House and Senate leadership indicate that this should happen next week. Stay tuned for more.

Matt Noyes
Children's Health Coordinator