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It’s up to Mass. House now to help bring about mental health parity

A view of the Massachusetts State House with the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge behind it.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

In a unanimous vote Wednesday, the Massachusetts Senate has made good on the state’s responsibility to improve access to mental health care, and now the House must follow suit and pass this legislation (“Mental health access should top post-pandemic priorities,” Editorial, Nov. 14). There is a long way to go to provide true parity in coverage and access to mental health care as compared with physical health care, even though it is well accepted that prevention and early interventions can save time, money, and suffering. Coverage for regular mental health checkups would facilitate the identification of risk and prevent escalation of distress.

Pediatricians and other primary health care providers are trained and capable of screening to identify a risk of emerging mental and behavioral health problems in children and youth and, along with their behavioral health colleagues (ideally located in the same office or in a collaborative arrangement), can guide patients and their families toward resources and strategies to ameliorate or reduce escalation of their distress.


Prevention works. Our state lawmakers should pass this measure.

Dr. Ellen C. Perrin


The writer is a professor of pediatrics at Tufts Children’s Hospital.