Even if you’ve applied for SSI or SSDI the process takes months or longer and you need some financial help until then if you are unable to work. The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA formerly known as “Welfare”) serves one out of every twelve people in the Commonwealth – including working families, children, elders, and people 17 with disabilities. Their services include food and nutritional assistance, cash assistance, employment supports, and emergency shelter.
Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) is a state and federally funded program which provides cash assistance to families with children and pregnant women in the last 120 days of pregnancy, with little or no assets or income. It is operated under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant and is described in the Commonwealth’s TANF State Plan. Participants receive child care and transportation support associated with job assistance and can access a number of supportive referrals to substance abuse and mental health services, and domestic violence specialists. As part of TAFDC, participants may be required to perform a work-related activity in order to receive benefits. DTA provides job assistance to TAFDC participants including job training, job search, and placements into jobs. Other key services include Access to Basic Education, English for Employment, Graduate Equivalency Diploma (GED) assistance, work readiness and skills training. It is especially important for clients to gain employment during their time on TAFDC as recipients are limited to 24 months of assistance in any continuous 60-month period. DTA offers many job assistance programs to provide clients with access to employment and training opportunities.
To be eligible for TAFDC, a recipient must meet certain requirements including:
The Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children (EAEDC) is a state funded program which provides cash assistance to those in need to stabilize their lives. To receive EAEDC, recipients must meet certain requirements including one or more of the following:
For more help applying for public assistance, call the Application Information Unit at 1-800-249-2007. There are Transitional Assistance offices located across the Commonwealth. To locate the office covering a city or town, call the Application Information Unit at 1-800-249-2007.
The Division of Health Care Finance and Policy has adopted the following Health Safety Net policy regarding dental services for individuals covered by MassHealth Standard, MassHealth Basic, MassHealth Essential, MassHealth CommonHealth, MassHealth Family Assistance/Direct Coverage, and Commonwealth Care Plan Type 1. For MassHealth members, this policy applies to individuals ages 21 and older who are not developmentally disabled. For Commonwealth Care members, this policy applies to all members in Plan Type 1.
The Health Safety Net will pay for the following services provided to these individuals by Community Health Centers, Hospital-Licensed Health Centers and acute hospital satellite clinics:
Unfortunately NAMI Mass cannot provide direct financial assistance. However, some pharmaceutical companies offer prescription assistance programs for low-income individuals and families. These programs typically require a doctor’s consent and proof of financial status. They may also require that you have either no health insurance, or no prescription drug benefit through your health insurance. Click here to view the list of pharmaceutical companies and their contact information. Click here to view a list of pharmacy generic programs that can also help to lower your overall medication costs.
Your community mental health care center may offer medication and mental health care services on a sliding scale basis and in some cases free services. Your local NAMI Affiliate may be able to help you locate this center.
Also, you may wish to visit theFree & Low Cost Health Care Service Locator and the League of Community Health Centers of Massachusetts for a list of local services that are on a free or sliding scale basis.
For these and other Medicaid and Medicare concerns, you may also contact the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) online, or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). Many families and individuals have found additional Medicare and Social Security assistance through the Medicare Rights Center: Your Guide through the Medicare Maze, which provides their MRC Consumer Hotline at 1-800-333-4114 (Monday-Friday, 9am-1pm, EST).
If you are already a client of the Dept. of Mental Health (DMH), then contact your case manger at your local site office to discuss your mental health service needs. If you want to apply for DMH services you can go here to their website or call the Main Office to find out where and how to apply, Mon-Fri 9am-4pm at 617-626-8000 or TTY: 617-727-9842.
If you are insured by MassHealth (Medicaid in Massachusetts), contact the member services of the behavioral health provider and ask for referrals to psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers. They can also assign you a case manager, if you request it. If you don’t know who your behavioral health provider is, contact MassHealth customer service at 1-800-841-2900 and ask them who the behavioral health provider is and what the member services phone number is. Then contact the behavioral health provider and ask for 2-3 referrals in your area and call them to find out when their first appointment is. See How do I find a MassHealth Mental Health Provider for a detailed explanation.
If you are insured by Medicare, please contact your primary care physician or Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for referrals to psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers near your area. If you don’t have a primary care physician, click on this Medicare find a doctor link and look for a clinical psychologist or clinical social worker who can provide therapy. It is recommended that you have a primary care physician who can refer you to a psychiatrist for medication prescription and management.
If you are insured by private insurance, please contact the member services (the phone number should be located on your insurance card) and ask for referrals to psychiatrists, and psychologists or social workers. You can also ask for a case manager to be assigned to you.
If you are not insured at all, here is a list of Free Walk-In Health Clinics (in the Details column look for Mental Health Services to be listed). Call to be sure they are taking new patients before you go. They may require you to make an appointment if it’s not urgent.
The Parents’ How-To Guide to Children’s Mental Health Services in Massachusetts, The Boston Bar Association, with support from Children’s Hospital Boston, has developed the guide to Services in Massachusetts, which answers all of these questions and more. It takes you through the mental health system step by step, from deciding if your child needs care to getting specific services.
If you have concerns about your child’s behavior or emotional well-being, there are several ways to get help through MassHealth, which are listed here: http://www.massresources.org/masshealth-behavioral.html#childapply
NAMI local affiliates and support groups – Speaking with NAMI members (people with mental illness and family members) can be a good way to exchange information about mental health professionals in your local community.
You can also check out the listing of various Mental and Medical Health Resources available on our website.
It is estimated that roughly 50 percent of individuals with severe mental illness are affected by substance abuse. Dual diagnosis services are treatments for people who suffer from co-occurring disorders – mental illness and substance abuse.
For more information, view NAMI’s Web section on Dual Diagnosis and the Fact Sheets Dual Diagnosis: Substance Abuse and Mental Illness and Dual Diagnosis: Adolescents with Co-occurring Brain Disorders & Substance Abuse Disorders
We have several resources listed for Substance Abuse. Be sure to inquire if they provide treatment for dual diagnosis – co-occurring disorders – mental illness and substance abuse. It’s very important to treat both disorders at the same time.
Or, you may contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) online, or by calling SAMHSA’s Health Information Network (SHIN) at 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727).
NAMI offers an array of education and training programs and services for consumers, family members, providers and the general public. These programs draw on the experience of mental health consumers and family members who have learned to live well with their illnesses and are eager to help others, as well as the expertise of mental health professionals and educators. Click here to learn about the NAMI Mass education and support programs.
You might also consider contacting your Local NAMI Affiliate for listings of support groups in your area. Local NAMI Affiliates can offer information about mental illness, coping strategies and local services that might be able to help you with a specific problem. Affiliates are comprised of individuals coping with severe mental illnesses and their families and friends. They have been through similar experiences and can also offer emotional support.
Many family members and other caregivers find the NAMI Massachusetts Mental Illness and Families: A Handbook for Caregivers (Word) very helpful. You can click here for on-line information on coping tips for spouses and adult children of people with mental illness.
NAMI Mass offers education programs and support groups that can assist a person living with mental illness through the recovery process. Support groups are often listed on your State NAMI’s webpage, or you can contact your local affiliate for more information. Our Affiliates and the families involved with the support groups have been through similar experiences and know of resources in your area to help you cope with your or your family member’s illness. Contact Your Local NAMI affiliate for more information.
Click here for Support Groups not affiliated with NAMI Mass
Click herefor Grief Support Services
Housing is the hardest need to fulfill in Massachusetts . Determine what your needs and requirements are. It helps to be flexible in location since the Metro Boston area has the longest wait lists (up to 5 years in some cases).
Take a few minutes to read this helpful guide Housing Search Guide for People with Disabilities in Mass.
Have you applied for a Section 8 voucher? This can also be a factor in determining where you live since some areas have used their entire allotment. For the process of how to apply for a voucher, click here. Obtain the housing application from the towns you want to reside in. Note that certain areas are covered by one application (example: Metro Boston). Some applications are available online. If you need help with housing applications or Section 8 voucher applications, contact your nearest Community Action Agency for assistance. Most agencies will assist with emergency housing needs.
If you are already a client of the Dept. of Mental Health (DMH), contact your case manger at the local site office to discuss your housing needs. The majority of group homes in Mass. are funded by DMH but operated by subcontractors of DMH. You can also check into the extensive list of Housing and Shelter Resources under the Resources & Links tab of our website.
You might contact yourLocal NAMI Affiliate for information. Sometimes, the best word-of-mouth recommendations come from others in our groups that have found a good residential facility or mental health care unit that specialized in a specific illness or treatment discipline.
You may visit the CMHS’s Mental Health Services Locator to search a state by state database of mental health care facilities. You can also call their Treatment Locator at 1-800-729-6686, and press #2 after the voice prompt to speak directly to one of their operators.
The American Residential Treatment Association also maintains a list of specialized programs. The Member organizations of ARTA offer a variety of services and are able to respond to a wide range of needs.
NAMI has a resource for families considering residential treatment for their children. And you can call our office and talk to the Director of Adolescent and Children Programs for some suggestions to look into.
New England Psychologist compiled the following hospital directory, updated as of May 2010, from information provided by the individual hospitals and units in response to a questionnaire sent to them. Additional information can be obtained by contacting the hospitals or units directly.
The way to find a MassHealth mental health provider depends on the type of health plan you have:
Primary Care Clinician (PCC) Plan members: If you are enrolled in the MassHealth Primary Care Clinician (PCC) Plan, your MassHealth mental health and substance abuse services are managed by a company called the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP). MassHealth will only pay for services from MBHP providers, except in an emergency.
For general information, see Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership
To find a provider, use the Provider Search tool
For a list of services, see Covered services
If you have questions, call the MBHP Clinical Access Line at 1-800-495-0086. This service is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. You can also ask your primary care physician for a referral, or call MassHealth Customer Service at 1-800-841-2900 (TTY: 1-800-497-4648).
Managed Care Organization (MCO) members: If you are enrolled in a MassHealth Managed Care Organization (MCO) health plan, you should call your MCO or visit their web site for information about mental health and substance abuse services. MassHealth will not pay for services from providers who are not part of your MCO plan.
For MCO contact information, see:
Select your MCO plan at the top of the page, and then follow the “Find a Health Care Provider” link for your MCO
Each MassHealth MCO has an online search tool and a member services phone line to help you find approved mental health and substance abuse treatment service providers in your area.
Other MassHealth members: If you are not enrolled in the MassHealth PCC Plan or an MCO managed care health plan, you can get mental health and substance abuse treatment services from any provider who accepts MassHealth and meets MassHealth provider requirements.
You can ask your primary care physician for a referral, or call MassHealth Customer Service at 1-800-841-2900 (TTY: 1-800-497-4648).
While NAMI Mass does not provide a list of mental health care professionals or treatment facilities, we do offer a fact sheet called Mental Health Professionals: Who they are and How to find one.
You might also contact your Local NAMI Affiliate for information. Sometimes, the best word-of-mouth recommendations come from others in our groups that have found a good local doctor or treatment program. Often times, one may find specialists in a certain field by contacting the psychiatry department at local teaching hospitals, of which there are several in the Metro Boston Area, where they are often on the cutting edge of research. You can also check the numerous resources of Mental and Medical Health Services on the under the Resources of our website.
Please contact your pharmacist, doctor or mental health care professional for guidance on the correct treatment of your specific situation. NAMI Mass is not a medical facility nor are we qualified to give medical advice about treatment or medication.
Click here to view NAMI Fact Sheets about medication and treatment.
Your Local NAMI Affiliate may have some suggestions about social activities where one may meet others in recover, either through our affiliate or possibly a local drop in center or clubhouse. Many affiliates have volunteer and leadership opportunities, in NAMI Connection, In Our Own Voice, and other programs and activities.
The Massachusetts Clubhouse Coalition has an online database of clubhouses. These are places where people who have had mental illness can go to rebuild their lives. Your Local NAMI Affiliate may also know of similar centers called drop in centers.
The Recovery Learning Community (RLC) is an entirely peer-run organization dedicated to providing support, education and advocacy through providing opportunities for individuals in finding their own paths to mental health recovery. They are flexible in meeting the needs of people who come to their facilities and can connect individuals with peer and non-peer resources in their communities of choice.
Please check out the many Education, Employment and Training resources we have listed under the Resources Sectopm of our website. Your local NAMI affiliate would also know of vocational rehabilitation centers that could help you find volunteer or work opportunities to suit your needs. Oftentimes, these centers will also have job training, skill-building workshops and counseling for easing back to employment.
The National Mental Health Information Center of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) has an online, searchable database of facilities and services in each state.
NAMI: Missing Persons Support page: missing persons database, web resources, online support and NAMI Support
The prime purpose of The Salvation Army’s Missing Person Service is to reunite people in families who wish to find each other. The Salvation Army reserves the right to accept or reject an application or to assign a priority to any given request based on reasonableness, feasibility and motive.
Provides tips as to how to ask for help from authorities, media and other professionals as well as how to start a personal recovery process. Having a recovery plan prior to locating a missing loved one is vital for reunification Locating Missing Persons with Mental Illness
What are Psychosocial Treatments? Psychosocial Treatments FACT SHEET
What is Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)? Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) FACT SHEET
What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)? Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) FACT SHEET