The Massachusetts State Senate passed its Mental Health ABC Act 2.0: Addressing Barriers to Care (ABC) on Wednesday. According to the press release, Mental Health ABC Act 2.0 is comprehensive legislation to reform the way mental health is delivered in Massachusetts, with a goal of “ensuring that people get the mental health care they need when they need it.” The bill is driven by the recognition that mental health is as important as physical health.
The bill proposes various reforms to ensure equitable access to mental health care and provide additional support to the behavioral health workforce. Amendments to the final version also include provisions focused on suicide prevention and access for incarcerated individuals to mental health care, among other additions. The bill comes at a time the state Senate is making “landmark investments in mental and behavioral health,” according to the press release. These include $400 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to “transform the behavioral health sector, and $122 million for recruiting and retaining nearly 2,000 behavioral professionals.”
“Today, the Massachusetts Senate took vital strides toward transforming mental health care in Massachusetts,” State Sen. Julian Cyr, Truro-D, who is a co-chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, said in the press release. “By unanimously passing the Mental Health ABC Act 2.0, we affirm that mental health is just as essential as physical health, and take a leap forward to ensure that all people in Massachusetts can access the mental health care they need and deserve. I am deeply grateful to Senate President Karen Spilka [Ashland-D] for her leadership and example, and to Senators [Cindy] Friedman [Arlington-D] and [Michael] Rodrigues [Westport-D] for their partnership in the most urgent endeavor.”
The bill now goes to the House.