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Report on Former Patient's Suicide Advises Changes at State Hospital

Thomas Fearon

Prompted by the suicide of a former patient last summer, an independent committee has wrapped up an investigation into care at New Hampshire Hospital.

Last July, 63-year-old Joy Silva jumped from her third-floor apartment in Nashua shortly after being discharged from the state psychiatric hospital. The obvious question that followed was: Could New Hampshire Hospital have done more to prevent Silva's suicide?

It's unclear what the answer is because a new report into the incident has not been made public. Jeff Meyers, the commissioner of the state Department of Health and Human Services, has read the report and he says the confidentiality is important.

"People inside an organization that's being reviewed will be candid...and really explain the facts of what happened," says Meyers. 

The review team did make nine public recommendations that direct Meyers' department on how to ensure better care at the state hospital - and help patients transition after they're discharged. Meyers will report on the department's progress toward those goals to Governor Chris Sununu within a month. 

Before joining NHPR in August 2014, Jack was a freelance writer and radio reporter. His work aired on NPR, BBC, Marketplace and 99% Invisible, and he wrote for the Christian Science Monitor and Northern Woodlands.

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