Massachusetts Bill To Treat Children With Mental Illnesses

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) on Thursday signed into law a bill that will help the state identify and treat children with mental illnesses, the AP/Boston Globe reports. The law will:

* Encourage physicians to screen children for mental illnesses during visits;

* Provide training to help teachers, guidance counselors and nurses identify the mental illnesses in students;


* Require the state Department of Early Education and Care to provide consultation services in early education and care programs to help identify children with mental illnesses earlier; and

* Establish a behavioral health research and evaluation council that will promote collaboration among state agencies to ensure that children with mental illnesses receive appropriate services.

Patrick in a statement said, "Massachusetts has been a leader in expanding health insurance for all of its citizens, and now we are focused on meeting the needs of every child."

According to a recent report from Children's Hospital Boston and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, each year about 100,000 of the more than 140,000 children in the state who require treatment for mental illnesses do not receive such care (LeBlanc, AP/Boston Globe, 8/21).

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