Mass. Behavioral Health Hotline Goes Live To Service State

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Another step on the Baker-Polito administration's Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform was taken on Tuesday with the launch of a 24/7 Behavioral Health Help Line to provide both routine and emergency mental health services.

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders previously said that the hotline acts to connect residents to resources quickly and efficiently, and is part of a front door approach to break down the barriers created by the stigma of mental health challenges.

"We recognize that until we address the pervasive stigma surrounding mental health and substance abuse disorder, that real change was impossible, it would be difficult and that individuals and loved ones would continue to struggle," Sudders said.

The hotline operator will identify the actions needed based on the condition of the caller and connect them to the appropriate resources. If the Help Line operator deems the caller to be at "imminent risk of harm," 9-1-1 will be contacted.

"The effects of this pandemic on our community will be with us for years to come and warrants our strong recommitment to comprehensive behavioral health care. We must lean in, embrace, and support individuals and their families struggling and not let stigma hold us back," Sudders said.

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The hotline number is 833-773-2445, and is available via both calls or text.

The new service comes as part of the Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito's renewed efforts to treat Massachusetts, where only half of residents with a mental illness actually receive treatment, according to their administration.

The service stems from a state contract with the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership.

WBZ's Carl Stevens (@carlstevens) reports.

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