Creating and maintaining access to mental health and substance use disorder care has been a persistent struggle in our state and the pandemic not only exacerbated the need but also devastated the workforce. The Foundation used survey and qualitative methods to generate critical data for policymakers and advocates in order to understand the challenges faced by residents, caregivers, and providers, and to build toward a more responsive behavioral health system.
In 2022, the Foundation published a report on findings from a new survey we commissioned that gathered information on the need for and access to mental health and/or substance use care among Massachusetts adults ages 19 and older and their close relatives. Here's what we heard:
Solving the problem of a distressed behavioral health workforce requires insight into the experiences of those on the frontline. We asked a group of local and national providers, leaders, and advocates to share their perspectives on how we can best build a robust, diverse, and resilient workforce that meets the needs of the Massachusetts population.
One of our grantmaking strategies is to support organizations in telling their stories and engaging in advocacy. The videos below highlight five of the Foundation's grant partners and their work to define health equity through community action.
Currently in its second year, the Racial Justice in Health grant program cohort is continuing their collective learning and translating their knowledge into policy, advocacy, and communication strategies. Learn more about the program.
Promoting access to coverage and care has been a central focus since the Foundation's inception. Through policy and research, grantmaking, and educational programs, the Foundation acts as a thought leader and convener. We express the importance of preserving and expanding access, while inviting a diverse set of perspectives to help prioritize our actions.
For the first time since 2019, the Foundation hosted an in-person event focused on five areas of health reform for incoming state leaders to prioritize, which were detailed in an accompanying report. This report not only created direct recommendations to government leaders, but it also gave us the opportunity to engage, connect, and exchange ideas with the public and other community leaders about the health care system challenges in the Commonwealth.
In the face of ongoing coverage gaps across the state, the Foundation concluded its Connecting Consumers with Care grant program in 2022 in order to broaden the scope of the program and reach new communities with a higher rate of uninsurance, a higher number of individuals that lack insurance, or that are more likely to experience gaps in coverage. The new Connecting Consumers to Coverage program is an evolution of our grantmaking strategy that supports both health insurance enrollment (initial and re-enrollment support) and community-centered outreach efforts to connect individuals to health insurance. This shift allowed us to hear from grant partners about how our Coverage and Care strategy has impacted their work.
Former President and Chief Executive Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Founder & CEO, Flowetik
Executive Director, Massachusetts Business Roundtable
Dean and Robert Knox Professor, Boston University School of Public Health
Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Kristine M. Trusty Endowed Chair in Psychiatry, Chief Academic Officer, Chief of the Division of Women’s Mental Health, and Director, Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction Clinical and Health Services Research, McLean Hospital
Vice President, Business Development Trinity Financial
Vice President of Mission & Associate Chief Medical Officer, Boston Medical Center
President and CEO, Lynn Community Health Center
Senior Consultant, John Snow Inc.
Strategic Policy Director, Community Catalyst
Chief Medical Officer & Sr. Vice President, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
President, Urban League of Springfield, Inc.
The Foundation is committed to listening to, learning from, and acting on input received directly from local community organizations and community members most impacted by structural racism and health inequities.
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