From 'Religious Excitement' to Class-Action Suits: A History of NH's Mental Health & Disability Care

Aug 13, 2015

The way New Hampshire cares for people with mental illness and developmental disabilities has changed dramatically over the past 200 years.

The shifts in approach have been urged on by advances in drugs and science, legislative mandate, budget cuts, and the force of media and popular culture.

Just 25 years ago, New Hampshire was a national leader in caring for people with mental and physical disabilities. Today, the state ranks closer to the bottom, and New Hampshire is in the middle of a period of dramatic change.

Check out our timeline of major developments and changes in the state's approaches to helping people with disabilities, and see below for additional reading on the subject.

Additional Reading

NH DHHS "History of Psychiatric Hospitals"

Disability Justice Wyatt v. Stickney

Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse Wyatt v. Stickney

Mother Jones "Timeline: Deinstitutionalization and its Consequences"

PBS A Brilliant Madness

Community Support Network, Inc. Laconia State School History

Nashua Telegraph "Suit Filed to Close Laconia State School"

NAMI "Grading the States: A Report on America's Health Care System for Serious Mental Illness"

Disabilities Rights Center "Examining Preventable Deaths in the Developmental Services System"

UC Berkeley "Timeline: The Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement"

Disabilities Rights Center "Summary of Reasons for Reforms of N.H.'s Mental Health System and Olmstead Class Action Suit"