For over a century, the Mental Health Association of Maryland has fought the battle for equitable access to behavioral health care for all Marylanders. 2023 was a great success, with our community achieving significant, hard-won legislative victories across a range of important behavioral health issues. This would not have been possible without the dedication of supporters and advocates like you.
We need you to continue to support this work—donate today.
YOUR VOICE MATTERS
We work every day to turn your concerns into actions that get results. Your opinions, your voice, and your actions matter. As we work to ensure that our legislative wins translate to progress for people across Maryland, we want to know what matters most to you.
Act now. Survey data will help inform our advocacy efforts in the months ahead.
THE WORK AHEAD
With far too many Marylanders continuing to struggle for access to mental health and substance use care, particularly Marylanders of color, now is the time to work together to ensure that our legislative wins translate to progress for people across Maryland.
Each day we’re working to:
Tackle the persistent problem of Maryland’s strained and diminishing workforce.
We know that caring for others requires dedicated personnel to partner with those in need. Sadly, Maryland’s behavioral health workforce has a persistent and longstanding deficit, with 63 federally designated mental health professional shortages, including 11 entire counties.
There is hope on the horizon thanks to our legislative initiative establishing a Behavioral Health Workforce Investment Fund that will consider the best pathways to bolster our depleted workforce including equitable recruiting strategies that provide reimbursement for education, training, and certifications, and retention strategies to maintain a livable wage and incentivize staff to remain in the field. This is not a quick fix. It will take time, effort, persistence, and oversight to ensure fiscal policies lead to a robust and accessible workforce for all Maryland communities in years to come.
Improve access to care and keep people out of crisis with a growing network of full-service community-based care centers.
Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) provide a range of mental health and substance use treatment and care coordination, while integrating with physical care, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. And they work. Sheppard Pratt’s CCBHC program, for example, has reduced hospital stays by nearly 50% and reduced the average per client emergency room visit cost by 80%.
And now, thanks to another long-fought legislative win, there is hope for significant CCBHC expansion in Maryland. The bill requires the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to apply for both a federal CCBHC planning grant in FY25 and for inclusion in the CCBHC demonstration program in FY26.
Expand access to high-quality mental health and substance use treatment in primary care.
Most often, people receive mental health and substance use care from primary care providers, a situation that is increasingly common given an ongoing and persistent behavioral health workforce shortage. Unfortunately, behavioral health treatment delivered in primary care settings is often suboptimal.
After many years of effort to strengthen mental health services in primary care offices by expanding to the Collaborative Care Model (CoCM), we secured reimbursement that will enable Medicaid recipients to receive the same high-quality mental health and substance use care in primary care as individuals with Medicare or commercial insurance. In the months ahead, we will continue our efforts to work directly with primary care providers to support rapid implementation of this best practice.
Do all we can to strengthen equitable access to mental health and substance use care for all Marylanders.
The Maryland Behavioral Health Coalition initiatives above, along with legislative progress to increase crisis service funding, eliminate access barriers for LGBTQ individuals, and maintain coverage for audio-only telehealth, are concrete steps toward improving lives and outcomes for Marylanders in the new year. It would not have been possible without the concerted effort of our coalition partners, champions in government, and dedicated supporters and advocates like you.
IN OUR COMMUNITIES
While we are waging effective policy campaigns year-round, we are out in the community daily, educating people through evidence-based training programs; building community awareness and support for Marylanders of all ages; and raising up the voices of those served in Maryland’s public behavioral health system.
CHILDREN & FAMILIES
Each year, MHAMD brings together a community of nonprofits, schools, local businesses, and community leaders to help us broaden our reach and rally in support of our mental health for Maryland’s children and families with events and activities, resources and support, and a wide variety of free outreach and education programs, including a program for new mothers, raising awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
In less than two decades, older adults will outnumber kids for the first time in US history. MHAMD is rising to meet the needs of Maryland’s older adults with a wide range of outreach and education programs, including workforce and peer support training, free events for older adults, and free educational resources for Maryland communities.
MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID
Mental Health First Aid is teaching Marylanders how to recognize and respond with competence and compassion to an individual experiencing a mental health concern. With 80,000 Mental Health First Aiders and 8,000 Mental Health First Aid Instructors trained to date, we’re building more caring, safe, and supportive communities throughout Maryland.
We help ensure quality care in Maryland’s public behavioral health care facilities and raise up the voices of those served across Maryland, performing confidential interviews with people receiving treatment, addressing concerns, facilitating rapid resolution, and circling back to ensure services meet the expressed needs of the individuals served.
BE A FORCE FOR GOOD
Knowledge is power. Join our mailing list to learn about important mental health initiatives, events and training, and the actions that you can take to be a force for good.