BOSTON (WWLP) – An expansion of access to behavioral health services in Massachusetts began with the opening of 25 Community Behavioral Health Centers (CBHCs) across the state Tuesday.

The CBHCs are part of the state’s Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform which also includes community-based crisis intervention services and the launch of the 24/7 Behavioral Health Help Line. 

The effort is to provide a new “front door” to behavioral health care for Massachusetts residents, making it easier for residents to find and access behavioral health services, reducing reliance on hospital emergency rooms, and improving and streamlining the availability of behavioral health clinical services for adults and youth.

To find a Community Behavioral Health Center use this link.

The Roadmap was created after the state asked for and received input from nearly 700 individuals, families, providers, and others who identified the need for expanded access to treatment, more effective treatment, and improved health equity.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a sharp increase in demand for mental health services, especially among youth. Additionally, a shortage of mental health workers and beds in facilities has patients struggling to secure quick access to community behavioral health services.

“Over the past eight years, our administration has worked in partnership with providers, clinicians and communities to strengthen capacity and access in the behavioral health system,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With the implementation of these important initiatives from the Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform, we are taking another important step to ensuring our residents can get the help they need, which is especially crucial given the continued need for behavioral health services as we emerge from the pandemic. I want to thank Secretary Sudders, the team at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and all our partners for their work on this initiative and we look forward to seeing the lasting impact of Roadmap for years to come.”

“The Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform was the result of conversations with providers, patients and families in communities across the Commonwealth,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Today with the launch of Community Behavioral Health Centers and the Help Line, we are taking a critical step toward making the vision of the Roadmap a reality. We are grateful to the providers and behavioral health professionals across the Commonwealth who have made this day a reality.”

Three major outcomes of the Roadmap are:

  • A network of 25 Community Behavioral Health Centers in communities across the state, designated and funded by the Administration, that serve as an entry point for timely, high-quality, and evidence-based treatment for mental health conditions and substance use disorders, including routine appointments, urgent visits, and community-based crisis intervention. To learn more, click here.
  • 24/7 mobile community-based crisis intervention and stabilization services that will serve as an alternative to hospital emergency departments.
  • A new, 24/7 Behavioral Health Help Line, which offers a single point of contact for residents to receive real-time support, initial clinical assessment, and connection to the right mental health and SUD evaluation and treatment, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. The phone and chat line will offer real-time clinical triage and service navigation in more than 200 languages to help individuals and families access the range of treatment for mental health and addiction offered in the Commonwealth, including outpatient, urgent, and immediate crisis intervention. Every call, text, or chat conversation will include clinical follow up. The Help Line is available through phone or text at 833-773-BHHL, as well as chat online at masshelpline.com.