MAMH collaborates with numerous organizations and individuals in the mental health community and throughout the Commonwealth to advance public policy initiatives to assist and empower individuals with mental illnesses and their families. Because MAMH is neither a trade association of clinicians and providers nor an organization comprised entirely of mental health consumers or family members, MAMH is often the "convener" or "honest broker" facilitating discussion and helping to build consensus among stakeholders.
MAMH's longevity and success as an independent and professional policy advocate, as a training and information resource, as a community partner, and as a facilitator and coordinator of services among private and public agencies, has not been the result of a large staff. Rather, MAMH effectively uses its directors, volunteers, existing resources, and the convening of community agencies to develop both short and long-term community partnerships with agencies and organizations across Massachusetts. Some examples of public policy initiatives (exclusive of housing policy) include:
- MAMH successfully advocated for legislation requiring the Department of Mental Health's approval before and changes could be made to the behavioral health care benefit under the Massachusetts Medicaid program (MassHealth).
- MAMH successfully advocated to provide DMH approval authority over any proposal to limit or restrict access to medications used in the treatment of mental illness.
- MAMH led the successful effort to enact the first comprehensive mental health parity in insurance coverage legislation in 2000, and was a principal partner in the coalition which achieve legislation in 2008 to broadened the 2000 parity law to mandate health insurance coverage for medically necessary treatment of substance abuse, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders and autism
- MAMH, in collaboration with a number of other organizations and trade associations successfully advocated for the enactment of legislation reorganizing children's mental health in Massachusetts.
MAMH coordinates the advocacy each year pertaining to the Department of Mental health's Budget and the funding levels it receives to serve its clients and to reduce its waiting lists.