State lawmakers want to make mental health exams free, like physical exams


BOSTON (WWLP) – The pandemic forced us all inside, requiring some people to internalize their battles with anxiety, depression and substance use. Lawmakers hope to help those that are still struggling and they’ve made it a top priority to do just that this session.

Prior to COVID-19’s arrival in Massachusetts lawmakers were considering a mental health bill that was put aside to deal with the public health crisis. Now that hospitals have the equipment they need to treat COVID-19 patients and PPE is in stock pretty much everywhere, the legislature is turning their attention back to mental health.

In a bill titled ‘Addressing Barriers to Care’ or the ‘ABC Act,’ insurance companies would have to cover the cost of an annual mental health exam, similar to a physical exam. This would allow people struggling with their mental health to talk to their trusted providers at no cost to them.

A major theme of the bill is destigmatizing mental health challenges. Lawmakers want to make it easier for people who are struggling with their mental health to be able to access services like therapy or rehab.

The pandemic also showed us that housing is a major issue in Massachusetts, and with more people now on the streets lawmakers believe the battle for mental health resources is more important than ever.

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