Governor Hassan today announced the reopening of 12 psychiatric beds at New Hampshire Hospital. They'll be used to treat adults over the age of 55 in need of both psychiatric help and medical attention, and are meant to shore up a mental health system that the Governor calls deeply strained.
"This new 12-bed unit is an important step forward that will help provide more appropriate mental health care for those in need and alleviate the pressure on emergency rooms," Hassan writes in a statement. "We must continue to take a systematic approach to strengthen all aspects of mental health care in our state and move toward more community-based care. It is beyond time that we make real and meaningful investments in helping those in desperate need of care."
Budget cuts have closed 60 beds at the state hospital in Concord in recent years, leading to a waitlist for services that currently stands at 19, including five children.
A class-action lawsuit over the treatment of mentally ill people is pending in Federal court..
Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Nick Toumpas says the 12 beds are a "temporary and partial solution" to the backlog in services.
Both Toumpas and the Governor are calling for $28 million in additional funding for the system to expand community-based programs and emergency response teams to help adults and children in crisis.
"We have worked very closely with the Legislature throughout the budget process to secure the necessary funding to implement community-based services," says Toumpas. "We are hopeful that funding will be included in the final budget."