Keep the Door Open 2020

An inability to access quality mental health and substance use disorder services in the community is forcing more individuals into costly emergency departments or discouraging them from seeking care at all. Accordingly, MHAMD and the Maryland Behavioral Health Coalition have prioritized legislation that will expand access to crisis response services to ensure Marylanders are receiving the most appropriate services in the most appropriate settings.

SB 441 | HB 332 allows the Maryland Department of Health to include behavioral health crisis response centers on its list of designated emergency facilities that can accept individuals for an emergency mental health evaluation. Currently, that list includes only hospital emergency departments, which are rarely the most appropriate place to deescalate a behavioral health crisis.

A bill hearing for HB 332 is scheduled this Wednesday in the House Health and Government Operations Committee.

SB 305 | HB 607 establishes a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Center of Excellence to assist local jurisdictions in developing, evaluating and improving CIT programs across Maryland. CIT is a law enforcement-led, team-based intervention to divert individuals experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder crisis away from the criminal justice system and into treatment.

A bill hearing for SB 305 is scheduled tomorrow in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

Behavioral Health Coalition Rally in Annapolis

Thursday, February 27 at Noon

The 2020 Behavioral Health Coalition Rally in Annapolis is just around the corner! Join MHAMD and the Coalition on February 27 as we rally in support of the full 2020 Keep the Door Open Legislative Agenda.

We need your voice! We are louder and more effective when we join together to demand improved services for our friends and family members living with a mental health or substance use disorder. We’ve had over 500 people attend these rallies in recent years. Please join us and help us get to 1,000 this year!

Get your friends to come too! Call them, share this email widely or help us promote the rally on social media. Below are some sample tweets you can use (just copy and paste!) And be sure to follow and report content from the Keep the Door Open Twitter and Facebook accounts.

  • I will be rallying in Annapolis @ noon on February 27 to tell #MDGA20 to support Marylanders with #behavioralhealth needs. See you there! #keepthedooropenmd
  • Join me February 27 at the #keepthedooropenmd Rally in Annapolis to show support for #behavioralhealth services.
  • Feb 27 at noon: Join me at the #keepthedooropenmd Rally in Annapolis and tell our elected officials to support ALL Marylanders living with mental health and substance use disorders

Upcoming Hearings, Briefings and Other Activities

Nearly 2,600 bills have been introduced since the Maryland General Assembly convened on January 8, and the MHAMD public policy team is tracking it all. Here are a few more of the hearings we are focused on this week. Our current bill list is attached.

  • HB 524 MHAMD supports this bill to increase services and supports for pregnant incarcerated individuals with substance use disorders [Tuesday, February 11- 1:00 p.m. – House Judiciary Committee] 
  • SB 490 MHAMD supports this bill increasing annual funding for Youth Services Bureaus to help prevent youth suicides and substance use disorders [Wednesday, February 12- 1:00 p.m. – Senate Budget and Taxation Committee]

Download our current bill list here.


Further information about the material above is available on the
Maryland General Assembly website

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