The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday it will hold six public input and information sessions across New Hampshire on the subject of mental health.
The state wants to hear concerns of residents as it continues to work on its 10-year mental health plan.
Julianne Carbin, director of the DHHS Bureau of Mental Health Services, says development of the 10-year plan has been underway since early 2018.
“A lot of the feedback that we heard throughout the development process -- and really what we realized -- was that we wanted broad input directly from individuals and families who are served through the mental health system,” Carbin says.
Rebecca Whitley is Policy Coordinator with the Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative and was one of the advocates who called for public input. She says the last Ten-Year Plan that was issued in 2008 did not address children, something she feels needs to change, especially as the state struggles with the opioid crisis.
"The trauma they might be experiencing if a parent is suffering from substance abuse disorder, you know, how are we going to best support those kiddos when they may experience some behavioral health needs themselves," says Whitley.
Carbin with DHHS says a draft report of the Ten-Year Plan is expected by mid-October, just in time for the last public input and information session in Concord.
“Once the plan is published, that’s where more work begins,” Carbin says. “So we’re going to rely on people to help carry that vision and help carry that plan forward.”
A full list of locations is listed below. All sessions are scheduled for 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Keene, September 25th
Cheshire Medical Center
Lower Level North, conference rooms 1&2
580 Court Street, Keene
Seacoast, October 1st
Portsmouth Public Library, Levenson Room
175 Parrott Avenue, Portsmouth
North Country, October 4th
Littleton Regional Hospital
Taylor Caswell Conference Center
600 St. Johnsbury Road, Littleton
Nashua, October 8th
Southern NH Regional Hospital
Education & Training Center
10 Prospect Street, Nashua
Manchester, October 9th
Manchester City Hall
One City Hall Plaza, Manchester
Concord, November 15th
DHHS Division of Public Health Services
29 Hazen Drive, Concord
Note: This replaces a session that was previously scheduled for October.