Originally published in: http://www.leominsterchamp.com/articles/families-and-communities-can-make-a-difference/
Serving on the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, I have had the privilege of hearing the stories of both the struggles and the successes from Massachusetts residents whose lives have been affected by addiction. Individuals who embrace recovery achieve improved mental and physical health and form stronger relationships.
We need to make more people feel as though recovery is possible.
Mental and/or substance use disorders affect people of all ethnicities, ages, genders, geographic regions, and socioeconomic levels. They need to know that help is available. These individuals can get better, both physically and emotionally, with the support of a welcoming community.
Families and communities can find hope and spread the message that recovery works by celebrating the annual National Recovery Month, an initiative sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Every other Saturday in Leominster, “Alone No More,” a support group for people who have been personally affected by the opioid epidemic and addiction in general, meets at the Unitarian Universalist Church on West Street. It is a safe place for the healing to begin, and also to have a support system to lean on for comfort. In addition to group meetings, the church’s volunteer staff is also available for one-on-one sessions. The next two scheduled gatherings are on Sept. 30 and Oct. 14.
If you know someone who is struggling with addiction, please let them know that free, confidential help is available 24 hours a day through SAMHSA’s National Helpline, (800) 662-HELP (4357) or (800) 487-4889 (TDD). Additionally, you can visit the Recovery Month website at https://recoverymonth.gov/node/1273.
Offering support to those experiencing mental and/or substance use disorders can make a huge difference. Together we can help others realize the promise of recovery and give families the right support to help their loved ones.
Thank you for taking the time to read this month’s column. If you have any questions, or need to get in touch with me and my office, email me at Natalie.Higgins@mahouse.gov or call (978) 227-5278. Hoping you have a fun and healthy fall!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: State Representative Natalie Higgins, 978-602-3772
September 18, 2017
House Reaffirms Commitment to Education, Safety and Health Care Funding
House Addresses Gubernatorial Vetoes
BOSTON – Representative Natalie Higgins (D-Leominster) and her colleagues in the House recently took action to restore vital funding that was vetoed by the Baker Administration. These veto overrides will enhance support for the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents, including those with dependent children, and bolster education initiatives.
The House voted to restore about $220 million in funding for MassHealth, including $209 million for caseloads, as well as funding for senior care and nursing home supplemental rates. The veto overrides also addressed funding for prostate cancer and pediatric palliative care.
“As elected officials, it is our duty to stand up for the voiceless and vulnerable,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “I thank my colleagues in the House for their extraordinary work to help those most in need while maintaining a responsible, balanced budget.”
“We restored funding to important statewide priorities and initiatives including monies for the pediatric palliative care and MassHealth to ensure full funding of the projected caseload while we continue to evaluate MassHealth reform,” said Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means (D-Boston). “This returns us to Conference Committee funding levels, which are balanced and sustainable. We will continue to monitor state fiscal trends.”
“This was my first state budget process and the Legislature worked hard to pass a well-balanced, responsible, and bipartisan budget in July,” said Representative Higgins. “The Governor vetoed essential funding to programs assisting residents all across the Commonwealth, and I am glad to join my colleagues to restore those vital services.”
The House took numerous steps to support vulnerable populations and children including funds for:
The House has been a longstanding champion of early education and care (EEC) and in this year’s budget made unprecedented investments to support the workforce, provide access to high-quality learning opportunities, and help prevent and detect mental health issues in young children. The House overrode the Governor’s veto of $1.25 million for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Services. The House also voted to restore funding for numerous other education programs and institutions including:
The House also voted to restore funding for essential safety initiatives including the Department of Fire Services and the Boston Regional Counter-Terrorism Center.