ADDITIONAL $750,000 FOR GOOD SAMARITANS

By Bob Katzen

The Senate 38-0, approved an amendment providing an additional $750,000 to fund “Hey Sam”—an anonymous peer-to-peer mental health texting program staffed by young people. The service, available to people up to 24 years old, gives youths the opportunity to reach peers if they are suicidal, lonely, depressed, overwhelmed, struggling or need any kind of support an domeone with whom they can talk.

Amendment sponsor Sen. Becca Rausch (D-Needham) noted the Samaritans continue to save lives and combat the commonwealth’s youth mental health crisis. She noted the Samaritans successfully deescalated 90 percent of imminent risk conversations, avoiding the need for emergency intervention. “For 47 years, the Samaritans, has provided lifesaving suicide prevention and mental health services in Massachusetts,” said Rausch. “Each year, they respond to tens of thousands of calls and texts from individuals experiencing mental illness and low levels of mental health.”

(A Yes” vote is for the $750,000.)

Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes

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