MA Aging and Mental Health Coalition

The Massachusetts Aging and Mental Health Coalition (MAMHC), founded in 1999, is a statewide membership organization dedicated to improving awareness of the critical problems elders face when experiencing mental health conditions, dementia or substance abuse.

MAMHC believes there should be an exclusive coalition established around a single purpose: creating an elder mental health system in Massachusetts and assuring that all elders have full access to quality services. Membership in MAMHC is open to all individuals and organizations that serve the needs of elders, including advocacy groups, non-profit providers, hospitals, nursing homes, elder consumers and caregivers.

The core of the coalition is based on public and private partnerships. Since its founding in 1999, MAMHC membership has grown to include private agencies, the Massachusetts Association for Older Americans, Massachusetts Councils on Aging, Mass Home Care, Massachusetts Geriatric Substance Abuse Task Force, Boston University Institute of Geriatric Social Work and the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Corporation of Massachusetts. This statewide coalition has assisted the development of six regional coalitions. Through this unique arrangement, issues of elder mental health and substance abuse have taken on great urgency in the state house and in state government.

MAHMC Goals

• Bring all parties together to create and implement a state elder mental health system

• Identify state and local barriers that impede progress

• Train and educate anyone and everyone

•  Advocate for mental health and substance abuse needs of all elders

•  Promote prevention, outreach, case management and gatekeeping services

•  Keep talented, key people motivated and working collaboratively

• Promote promising and evidence-based practices

• Create and maintains partnerships both local and state-wide

•  Analyze problems, goals and influence policy development

•  Provide frequent and productive communication

• Enhance community participation

• Connect to the national movement

Accomplishments

MAMHC has held several annual conferences drawing ever-increasing numbers and highlighting best practices across the state. Featured speakers have included leading practitioners in aging and mental health, top state administrators and clinicians from promising demonstration projects.

In conjunction with the Boston University Institute of Geriatric Social Work and MAOA, MAMHC developed a blended model of online and face to face training, targeting leaders in aging, mental health and emergency responders.

MAMHC has supported MAOA, Massachusetts Geriatric Substance Abuse Task Force and DPH on a significant number of elder mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention conferences.

Help create a web site for elders and their caregivers with the Greater Lowell Elder Mental Health Collaborative, by providing an easily accessible tool for understanding issues, learning about existing services and finding out the work of the local and statewide coalitions. http://www.eldermentalhealth.org/

United the key players in an elder mental health system. This partnership took place between Massachusetts Aging and Mental Health Coalition and three state departments: Department of Mental Health, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and the Department of Public Health. From a common recognition of need, The Elder Mental Health Planning Collaboration is now officially a subcommittee of the DMH’s State Mental Health Planning Council and has been very active over the last decade, contributing to the understanding of the need for institutional and community placements for elders with mental health conditions.

Contributed to the development of the Department of Mental Health’s Elder Peer Bridger Program.

Meeting Schedule and Contact Information

The Coalition meets every 2nd Friday of the month and invite professionals and other interested individuals to attend.

For further information, please contact:

Cassie Cramer, LICSW, CPS                                                  Rebecca Kessler, MA, LMHC

Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services                                 CHD/Hawthorn Elder Care

ccramer@eldercare.org                                                        rkessler@chd.org

617-628-2601 x 3089                                                            413-206-5557