BEHAVIORAL HEALTH COMMUNITY COLLABORATIVE (BHCC)
Strength in Numbers for Mental Health Consumers
In response to the need for stronger mental health advocacy with Maine legislators and the Governor's office - a need that has been growing in urgency over the past five years - Sweetser was a founding member in 2007 of a new collaboration. This new collaborative vowed to be the voice of Maine's mental health consumers in new ways that could not be ignored by Maine's policy makers.
The result is a new team of partners - jointly called the Behavioral Health Community Collaborative (BHCC) - which works to raise awareness about mental illnesses and to advocate for quality healthcare for all Maine citizens. In addition to Sweetser, the other collaborating agencies are: KidsPeace, The Opportunity Alliance and Oxford County Mental Health Services. Our Collaborative, along with our lobbyists, Moose Ridge Associates, joined with other stakeholders in Maine, who are passionate about a quality mental health system. They filled the State House with voices and rallied to stop the devastating cuts proposed by the Governor in his version of the budget. The March 2nd rally was the largest ever held at the State House.
The budget that was passed reduced appropriations to mental health services, which hurt consumers and providers alike. Nonetheless, without the collaborative work of BHCC, the future of mental health in Maine would be bleaker.