Mental Health Crisis Deepens For Patients Awaiting Scant Hospital Beds

Mar 4, 2017

Under a court settlement, the state agreed to boost support for community-based services, with the aim of keeping people out of institutions like psychiatric hospitals. But the need for this kind of care has not abated, raising the question: Does the state need to re-think how it spends it mental health resources, to shore up both ends of the system?


  • John Dixon - Father of a twenty-three-year old son suffering from schizophrenia, who has been in and out of institutions seeking care. 
  • Aaron Ginsburg - Attorney with the Disability Rights Center of New Hampshire, which won a legal settlement against the state over its treatment of people with mental illness.
  • Ken Norton - Executive Director of the NH Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. 
  • William Torrey - Psychiatrist and Vice Chair for Clinical Services for the Department of Psychiatry at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. He works with adults suffering from severe psychiatric illnesses at both Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the N.H. State Hospital. He also worked for many years in the community mental health system. 
  •  Steve Ahnen - President of the New Hampshire Hospital Association. 

Check out news coverage around the state:

NHPR reporter Emily Corwin profiled a man who suffers from mental illness whose inability to get treatment reflects a growing trend, in "How One Man Spent 575 Days (and $43,000 in Tax Dollars) In Jail For Trespassing."

Concord Monitor reporter Ella Nilsen spoke to a mother whose son spent 18 days waiting for a spot at the New Hampshire Hospital, in "Long emergency room wait wears on N.H. mental health patient, family.

Concord Monitor reporter Allie Morris chronicled the long-term shortage of mental health services in the state, in "N.H. struggling to solve a psychiatric problem that's been years in the making." 

In December, NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with Ken Norton about a study from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in "Report: Mental Health Care Still Relatively Difficult to Access."