A Healthy Blog

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

Merrimack Valley Voices For Children’s Mental Health

Merrimack Valley Voices For Children’s Mental Health

June 27, 2008

Forum in Lowell to discuss Children\'s Mental Health bill
Kayla (pictured above with her mother and Re. Golden) is one of the lucky ones. Faced with a bipolar diagnosis and substance abuse issues as a high school student, she and her family were able to access treatment that effectively addressed her needs. Now 20, she recently got her driver’s license and bought her first car.

But Kayla will be the first to tell you that she is one of the lucky ones. There are thousands of young people in Massachusetts who are unable to get the care necessary to confront their mental illness. That’s why Kayla and her mother Irene came to the Lowell MSPCC offices this morning – to advocate for systems change that will help those kids who are not as lucky as she was.

The Greater Lowell Children’s Mental Health Forum was attended by more than 40 parents, service providers, and advocates. Representative Tom Golden spoke in support of S. 2518, An Act Relative To Children’s Mental Health and how Kayla and Irene’s story brought him into the world of mental health system reform. Aides to Representative Miceli and Senator Panagiotakos also participated.

S. 2518 would encourage early identification of mental illness in children, Provide schools new tools and resources to help their students, expand insurance protections for families of children living with mental illness, and restructure current state agency structures to break down silos of care.

Currently, the bill is pending action by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, but time is running out in the current legislative session.