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Massachusetts Mental Health Hotline Has Received 11,000+ Calls and Counting

A groundbreaking change in access to mental health care for people across Massachusetts has been paying off.

The Massachusetts Behavioral Health Help Line, which was launched on January 3rd, has already received over 11,000 calls and over 3,000 texts and chats.

The line can be reached 24/7 by calling or texting 833-773-2445.

Trained licensed clinicians offer immediate assistance free of charge and then connect people with the help they need right away.

Mental health appointments are set up with urgency at one of 25 newly opened community behavioral health centers in Massachusetts.

The helpline is able to work with people who don’t have health insurance and connect them with appropriate care.

“We to make sure that help is truly available at the time the person is seeking it,” said Department of Mental Health Commissioner Brooke Doyle. “The intention is to offer people a community-based alternative so they don’t have to rely on emergency rooms.”

The state granted Boston 25 News access to one of its new centers in East Boston.

The centers started operating this year as part of the “Roadmap” policy to improve mental health care.

Many of the centers provide outpatient, inpatient and emergency services.

“This, for me is really a chance for us to meet the needs of a diverse population who sometimes are not seen or heard,” said Sharon Hanson, CEO of the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership.

Hanson told Boston 25 News people haven’t only been calling about themselves.

She said school districts have been reaching out for assistance with students in crisis, and parents have been looking for help too.

“We received a call recently from a mom who was concerned about her 10-year-old who was bullied and experiencing some sexual harassment at school,” said Hanson.

The state is now looking to track where the highest volume of calls is coming from to make sure everyone’s needs are being met.

“The intention behind tracking where people are calling from is so we can track volume by location and help us identify where we might need to do more engagement,” added Commissioner Doyle.

The Massachusetts Behavioral Health Help Line is different from the national 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and strictly caters to residents in Massachusetts.

It has the capacity to communicate with people in over 200 languages.

Source: Yahoo News