A Healthy Blog

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

Children's Mental Health

Medication, Children, and Mental Health – Not So Simple

The New York Times recently published a disturbing article about children with significant mental health needs who were dramatically overmedicated by physicians. To be clear: the Children’s Mental Health Campaign does not support over-medicating children. No one believes the solution to mental health issues is creating obese, zombie-like children who are at risk of serious medical conditions like diabetes. The Campaign strongly believes in appropriate treatment to address the specific mental health needs of young people. Read more »

Depression in Preschoolers – Food For Thought

Compartmentalization of mental health within the medical profession and stigma related to mental illness has meant that definitions and diagnosis are often difficult to nail down. Not too long ago, mental health was thought to be inapplicable to adolescents because since they were still developing physically, they could not suffer from mental illnesses. Now we know that many young people, including teenagers and even grade school students have mental health needs. But what about children as young as 3 or 4? Yesterday’s New York Times Magazine asks an important question: Can Preschoolers... Read more »

Back To School – And Back To Talking Bullying

Last January, Massachusetts’, and the world’s, attention was drawn to South Hadley when tragic events made the issue of bullying a front page story. The legislature acted quickly, passing and enacting new legislation designed to address the issue. Earlier this week, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced guidance to assist schools in designing plans to respond to bullying. In working to address bullying, we need to remember that mental health is an important component. Not only is there the obvious implications of the mental health impact on bullying victims,... Read more »

Legislature Moves To Help Families – And Has A Chance To Help Even More

This week, advocates for children with special needs were pleased that the Autism Bill looks to be on track to move toward passage before the end of the Legislative session. The bill, which will require insurance coverage for a number of autism services, will provide much-needed help to thousands of Massachusetts’ families. The cost of this relief is a bargain at an estimated 83 cents per member per month. At a time when everyone is concerned with health care expenses, lead sponsor Representative Barbara L’Italien said, “We’re pretty confident we can manage those costs in a responsible way.” Read more »

Children’s Mental Health in Danger: Scott Brown Could Save The Day

In signing the FY 2011 State Budget last week, Governor Patrick made reductions to a number of line items, including three that directly impact children living with mental health needs: · Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services were reduced by $400,000; · Early Education Mental Health Consultations were reduced by $250,000; and · The Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative took more than a $1 million cut. Read more »

Overcoming Barriers to Children’s Mental Health Services

In a recently published report by the Parent/Professional Advocacy League (PAL), parents of children with mental health needs and mental health providers were asked to identify and describe barriers to accessing treatment for kids. Results of the study showed a common trend: parents struggled most with out-of-pocket expenses, access to specialists, and finding community support for their child. While national and state health care reform laws have addressed many problems preventing access to health care overall, improvements to access for mental health services still lag behind. Expenses... Read more »

Prison Is Not Treatment: Part 2

Back in August, we wrote a blog about young people with mental health needs ending up in prison for lack of community resources.http://blog.hcfama.org/?p=3386 Read more »

Prison Is Not Treatment: Part 2

Back in August, we wrote a blog about young people with mental health needs ending up in prison for lack of community resources.http://blog.hcfama.org/?p=3386 Read more »

Prison Is Not Treatment: Part 2

Back in August, we wrote a blog about young people with mental health needs ending up in prison for lack of community resources.http://blog.hcfama.org/?p=3386 Read more »

Fight Over Mental Health Parity Rules

This guest post is by Matt Selig, Executive Director of HCFA partner, Health Law Advocates: A semi-under-the-radar public policy battle is taking place over the writing of the administrative regulations that will implement the 2008 federal Mental Health Parity Law. Health care consumers have a lot at stake and the winners and losers in this fight will be determined within a few weeks. Generally speaking, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act requires group health plans providing mental health coverage to provide such benefits in a manner that is equal to other medical benefits.... Read more »

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