Massachusetts Commits $13 Million to Support Student Mental Health, Expanding The Brookline Center for Community Mental Health’s Transformational bryt Program Statewide

Funds will directly support students in economically challenged and under-resourced communities 

(Brookline, Mass.—May 21, 2024) The Brookline Center for Community Mental Health announced today that its transformational bryt program, which supports students who have fallen behind after a significant mental health disruption, has received two major public investments: $3 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and $10 million from the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Trust Fund, both administered by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH). The funds will directly support students in schools across the Commonwealth with a focus on schools in economically challenged and under-resourced communities. 

Funds will accelerate statewide adoption of the highly effective bryt intervention, helping schools in high-needs communities bring the program to their students. The first schools that will launch bryt with these funds include Boston’s John D. O’Bryant School, Brockton High School, Everett High School, Lynn Vocational Technical Institute, Malden High School, Springfield’s High School of Commerce, Springfield Legacy Academy, and Taunton High School.  

Governor Maura Healey announced the investment this morning at Wellesley High School following a conversation with bryt students, graduates, and families. Wellesley High School’s bryt program was one of the first established in Massachusetts more than 18 years ago.

“Far too many young people in Massachusetts have been affected by a growing mental health crisis that was only amplified by the pandemic,” said Governor Healey. “Every student should have the support needed to balance their mental health and education. Expanding bryt is a critical step that is bringing us closer to that goal.”

“This is a pivotal commitment to student mental health across Massachusetts,” said Ian Lang, Chief Executive Officer of The Brookline Center. “For nearly 20 years, the bryt program has successfully helped thousands of students transition back to full participation in school following a mental health disruption to their education.”  

“This funding will allow us to support schools that have wanted to implement bryt for years, but until now have lacked the resources to get things started. We are deeply grateful to our partners in the State Legislature and Administration for such an incredible investment,” said Paul Hyry-Dermith, Director of bryt.  

For students who experience a mental health-related disruption in their education, most schools are ill-equipped to help them return to school, resume a normal course schedule, succeed academically, and reintegrate socially. Nationwide, roughly 50% of students with serious mental health challenges drop out of high school.  

The Brookline Center’s bryt program is changing this trajectory, transforming how schools support students with the most serious mental health challenges and school culture around mental health. bryt aims to make its successful intervention available to as many young people as possible.  

Established as a stand-alone program at Brookline High School in 2004, bryt has been adopted by schools that serve over 50% of Massachusetts public high school students, as well as 40 middle and elementary schools across the state. Over the past few years, bryt has quietly begun soft launching a national expansion, reaching school districts in seven states from New York to Oregon so far. 

“bryt creates a space for students to access the academic, clinical, and social support they need to re-integrate into school and get back on track,” said Hyry-Dermith. “More than 90% of students who participate in bryt continue on to graduate.”  

About bryt 

bryt (pronounced “bright”) is a transformational program that promotes healing, wellness, and academic success for students who experience a mental health-related disruption in their education. The signature bryt Model for tier three mental health support helps districts throughout Massachusetts and across the country implement interventions that support youth transitioning back into school after a mental health crisis. For nearly twenty years, bryt has worked to destigmatize mental health across communities so that school is a safe and inclusive environment for all students to learn and thrive.  

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About The Brookline Center for Community Mental Health 

The Brookline Center for Community Mental Health works to transform the mental health care system through the development and delivery of innovative programs and services. The Center provides mental health services and programs rooted in meaningful innovation and compassionate care, serving adults and children in local communities, across Massachusetts, and nationwide. Our vision: a mental health care system effective and equitable for all.  

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