Massachusetts lawmakers push for additional mental health resources for residents during the holidays

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – Both branches of the legislature have made it their priority this session to address barriers around mental health and substance abuse. On Monday, that debate continued with a hearing on several late file bills.

The joint committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery took hours of testimony from specialists and former addicts. The bill that garnered the most attention had to do with ending unnecessary hospitalizations and reducing emergency department traffic.

Those that testified argued that people with mental health issues have no where else to go when they are in crisis. Which forces them to walk into the nearest emergency room and while they’re there, they aren’t getting the care they deserve.

Lawmakers argued that if mental health facilities were readily available, much like urgent care, then hospitals would see a decline in walk in patients. Something they called a win-win for those that need mental health services and those that work in emergency departments.

There was some opposition to this bill especially from people who were worried that the state’s involvement would complicate things even further. Committee members didn’t end up voting on the bill on Monday.

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