Local 509 and Advocates Call on State to Put Mental Health Client and Worker Safety First

SEIU Local 509 had a very successful week working in partnership with families, the trade association, advocacy organizations, legislators, and consumers.  There was major news coverage of our call to action to improve safety measures in the state’s mental health system. Most notably was an op-ed in the Boston Globe, written in collaboration between the Presidents of both the SEIU Local 509 and the Behavioral Health Association, calling attention to the necessity that the state  implement all of the Safety Task Force recommendations.

Both our organizations and our members understand the critical importance of staff and consumer safety at DMH-funded programs. Safety is an essential condition for the success of these services in helping individuals achieve recovery. Direct care workers, providers, consumers, DMH and the Legislature need to work together to for the benefit of both consumers and staff in passage of comprehensive legislation based on the recommendations of the DMH Task Force on Staff and Client Safety.

Press coverage also included a six minute radio interview on WBUR with SEIU 509, NAMI-Mass, and the family of Stephanie Moulton, a human service worker allegedly killed by a mentally ill client. There were also two news articles on a rally spear-headed by the Moulton Family, SEIU Local 509, and The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health.

Here are some links to those articles:
Family of Slain Caseworker to Testify on Beacon Hill for ‘Stephanie’s Law’
Service Workers, Family of Slain Peabody Woman Rally for Statewide Safety Reform

Photo from Rally for Stepanie's Law

Photo from Rally for Stepanie

Local 509 also testified in favor of “Stephanie’s Law” at State House, as a part of an overall safety reform campaign in the mental health system.

Photo from ocmmittee hearing on Stephanies Law

Photo from committee hearing on Stephanie

This bill, named after Stephanie Moulton, would require all DMH facilities to be equipped with panic buttons. Local 509 is proud to garner support for this bill and will keep working with all stakeholders to improve all areas of safety for human service workers.

509 Members at Rally for Stephanies Law

509 Members at Rally for Stephanie

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