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The Time is Now. Scroll for your April Campaign e-News.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

It's critical that we all do our part to protect children and ensure they can grow up safe and healthy. Learn more about some of the work being done across the Commonwealth to prevent child abuse and promote nurturing environments for children:

Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC), one of the Campaign's executive committee members, is dedicated to protecting and promoting the rights of children and families through pregnancy and parenting supports, foster care and adoption resources, and child & family counseling.

The Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate works to ensure Massachusetts state agencies provide children with quality services and that children receiving services are protected from harm.

Created by the Massachusetts Sexual Abuse Prevention Task Force, Safe Kids Thrive is a resource for child and youth serving organizations to to provide safety and security for the children they serve.

Behavioral health Emergency department Boarding

Spotlight on: Behavioral Health Emergency Department "Boarding"

What is "Boarding?"

Boarding occurs when a person in the Emergency Department (ED) requires inpatient psychiatric care, but there are no appropriate psychiatric placements available. Patients are often stuck waiting for weeks, even months, in hospital EDs, in non-psychiatric medical units, or at home.

There is a boarding crisis affecting the delivery of behavioral health care to children in Massachusetts, and research shows that children and teens are likely to board for longer periods of time than adults.

There are many reasons children may experience boarding, but one of the most important is that the pediatric behavioral health system is overwhelmed by demand, resulting in delayed and inconsistent treatment.

COVID-19 and "Boarding"

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting mental health impacts have put significant stress an already overburdened system. From July-October 2020, Boston Children’s Hospital reported 277 youth patients boarding in the ED having suicidal thoughts or attempting suicide - a 47% increase over the same time period in 2019. With a lack of community-based urgent care options, the Emergency Department is the most accessible place to go for a family in need, however there continues to be a severe shortage of psychiatric beds.

How are we addressing the problem?

The Children's Mental Health Campaign is addressing the escalating boarding crisis through public awareness campaigns and legislative & budget advocacy.

We have partnered with legislators on several bills that expand behavioral health urgent care services, create a system of data collection, and establish expedited protocols for admitting patients under the age of 22.

In the FY22 budget, we're advocating for a 50M Innovation Fund to address behavioral health boarding through investment in resources, including: new inpatient beds, specialized training for staff, crisis stabilization services, increases in CBAT and partial hospitalization capacity.

CMHC Budget Priorities

Budget season is here!

The FY22 House Ways and Means Budget is set for release on April 14th, 2021 and we're advocating for the prioritization of children's behavioral health. Our budget priorities reflect a comprehensive approach to supporting children and families:

To advocate meaningfully for children, we must first acknowledge the nesting structures within which they reside. Supporting children’s behavioral health requires us to advocate for children at home with their family, in their school, and within the context of the broader community.

  • Home: ensuring children and families are able to receive high-quality behavioral health care without delay and getting them back home.
  • School: strengthening behavioral health supports in school and removing barriers that prevent children with behavioral health challenges from reaching their full potential.
  • Community: strengthening the entire communities' capacity to support children by improving the behavioral healthcare system.

Learn about our budget priorities, and take action now!

children's Behavioral health resources & Updates.

Early Childhood Knowledge: Results from a National Survey of Homeless Shelter Staff

A recent study conducted by a team at Villanova University sought to understand how shelter providers serving families support the healthy development of young children. Learn more about the preliminary results of this study below. Contact information is provided for those interested in participating in the ongoing survey.

New York Times Kids Section

The last Sunday of every month, NYT publishes a 12 page section for readers ages 8-13. They have recently launched an accompanying Instagram page. The page includes articles on current events from the perspective of kids.

Your Headlines.
I think that it feels like the deepest, darkest period of your life when you're struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. But we do know that things can get better and do get better, especially with the right treatment. And one of the things that gives me hope is that as a result of this pandemic, a lot more light is being shed on this problem and mental health issues.

Resources: You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and the Samaritans Statewide Hotline (call or text) at 1-877-870-HOPE (4673). Call2Talk can be accessed by calling Massachusetts 211 or 508-532-2255 (or text c2t to 741741).

Bent Not Broken is a comprehensive look back on the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has disrupted our mental health. We're all going through it to some degree: The loneliness, the burnout, the uncertainty, the trauma. In this series, you'll find advice and insight from experts on how to manage your emotional well-being as we move into year two. We’ve been so vigilant about protecting our physical health, but we can’t forget our mental health, too.
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