HCN News & Notes

State Announces Major Step in Behavioral Health Help Line Implementation

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced that the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP) has been selected as the exclusive clinical provider for the Behavioral Health Help Line, which will act as an accessible ‘front door’ to treatment, enabling Commonwealth residents to easily find available providers and services that meet their needs.

Set to launch in January, the Help Line will offer a single point of contact for residents to receive real-time support, initial clinical assessment, and connection to the right mental-health and substance-use-disorder 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 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.

Importantly, MBHP has committed to placing a particular focus on historically underserved communities, and the Help Line will be accessible in more than 200 languages to strengthen the connection to behavioral-health services across the Commonwealth.

“Our administration, in close collaboration with the Legislature and community partners, has made it a priority to ensure that Massachusetts residents can access the treatment they need, when and where they need it,” Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said. “The Behavioral Health Help Line will provide residents with a much-needed clinical front door to treatment; with one phone call, text, or web chat, individuals will have access to a variety of services, including mental-health assessments and referrals. MBHP will compassionately and effectively set the Help Line in motion, so that all Massachusetts residents can receive the high-quality, accessible behavioral healthcare they deserve.”

Starting in early January, any Massachusetts resident in need of a clinical assessment and support will be able to access the Help Line 24/7 via phone and text at (833) 773-2445, as well as online at masshelpline.com. Every call, text, or chat conversation will include clinical follow-up.

“The Behavioral Health Help Line will offer significantly more than traditional information and referral lines,” Department of Mental Health Commissioner Brooke Doyle said. “This Help Line team will be staffed by trained behavioral-health responders who will take the time to assess the needs of the people seeking help, will assist with navigation of the system, and will also remain in contact with the caller to ensure that they have successfully connected with a provider. The ability to offer appropriate treatment to every resident, whenever and wherever they need it, has always been our mission. We look forward to working with MBHP to make this a reality.”

Under the direction of the Department of Mental Health, MBHP will become accredited as a 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline center, and the Help Line will also work in close collaboration with the existing 988 line to receive handoffs of individuals in need of clinical assessment, assistance booking an outpatient appointment, and connection to outpatient providers.

“The Behavioral Health Help Line will give individuals a centralized resource for behavioral-health support,” said Sharon Hanson, CEO of the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership. “Individuals will now have reliable, 24/7 access to clinical staff, online or by text, chat, or phone — a completely new pathway to support. We are proud to help to provide this vital resource, which will enable more people to receive help when and where they need it most.”