mental health

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The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has unveiled a draft version of a new 10-year plan for improving mental health services.

The 10-year plan is a roadmap for the reforms needed to strengthen the state’s mental health infrastructure.

In recent years, one of the most pressing issues has been a shortage of beds at in-patient mental health facilities.

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State officials say they are working to address the issues behind a recent lawsuit filed by the New Hampshire ACLU.

The federal suit alleges that mental health patients in New Hampshire are routinely denied their constitutional rights by being detained in emergency rooms without a hearing, what is called ER boarding.

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The New Hampshire ACLU has filed a federal class action lawsuit against the state of New Hampshire over a practice called emergency room boarding.

The anonymous 26 year-old plaintiff in the ACLU’s suit was admitted to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua last week following an attempted suicide. (Update: Jeffrey Meyers, commissioner of Health and Human Services, responds to the complaint's allegations.)

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Though the opioid crisis has been the top-of-mind health issue here, alcohol abuse remains a major problem in the state and nationally. We look at the factors specific to New Hampshire, and who is most impacted these days.

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A new report that grades how well states are doing with enforcing laws around insurance coverage for mental illness gives New Hampshire a "C."

 

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Over the next several weeks, the N.H. Dept. of Health and Human Services is looking for input from the public on a draft of a new ten-year plan for the state's mental-health system that has been in the works for several months.   Among the areas in need of substantial improvement, according to many: children's mental health care.  The draft is due by mid-October, with the final version due in November.       

GUESTS: 

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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.

 

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A federal grant of $119,000 will allow New Hampshire's National Alliance on Mental Illness to train first responders in how to handle incidents where someone is having a mental health crisis.  

This type of training is known as crisis intervention. It'll be the first time there's a statewide effort to train state police on this, as well as fire and EMS responders.

New Hampshire has one of the country’s highest rates of foster care kids receiving drugs for emotional and psychiatric issues, and many of them don’t have a treatment plan.

That’s according to a report released this week from the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Representatives from law enforcement, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and state agencies met recently to discuss ways to expand mental health training for police officers.

"Police officers throughout the State of New Hampshire -- and I see a lot of them -- their consistent message is 'We need more mental health training,'" said Lieutenant Frank Harris, who helped organize the meeting.

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New Hampshire has received a $10 million grant to help design a program to improve the health and wellness of people with mental illnesses.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services received funding over five years from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The goal is to integrate physical and mental health care for young people ages 16 to 35 with severe mental illness or severe emotional disturbance.

The Loneliness Epidemic

Jun 26, 2018
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Loneliness can have a powerful impact on our mental, physical, and social wellbeing. We look at what might be causing loneliness in children, teenagers, and adults, and what it means for our health and happiness.

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Over a year ago, St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire published an investigation that revealed decades of sexual abuse allegations. The school is currently being sued by two alumni over faculty sex abuse allegations.

And yet they haven’t established a therapy fund for alumni who were abused, something academics, attorneys and victims believe is essential for healing.

Paige Sutherland / NHPR

Supporters of a man being held in the secure psychiatric unit at New Hampshire State Prison, despite never being convicted of a crime, marched in Concord today. As NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports, the protest comes as a federal judge considers Andrew Butler’s request to be transferred to an accredited mental health facility.

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Our series on mental health in New Hampshire concludes with a look at the role of the state psychiatric hospital in responding to crises, and at what happens once a patient leaves, including what's available in terms of treatment, jobs, housing, and community support. 

In Depth: Examining N.H.'s Mental Health System

May 18, 2018
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The Exchange: In-Depth

On the first of our four-day series, we get an overview of mental health care in New Hampshire, including efforts to bolster the community support system, as required under a 2013 legal settlement.  We'll also find out how a new 10-year plan for mental health is shaping up, and how it differs from the last 10-year plan.  Among the issues yet to be solved: long emergency-room waits for people in crisis, an average of 37 people daily, according to the N.H. chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. 

The state's new Child Advocate, Moira O'Neill, is launching an investigation into the Sununu Youth Center following allegations of a pattern of illegal use of restraints on juveniles there.

N.H. Department of Health and Human Services

The scene last June at the offices of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness was cautiously optimistic as Gov. Chris Sununu and other leaders gathered to sign into law House Bill 400 — hailed as a major step forward for the state’s mental health system.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: January 12, 2018

Jan 11, 2018
Allegra Boverman

It’s a special edition of the Weekly New Hampshire News Roundup - recorded in front of a live audience at The Barley House in Concord.  The legislature tackles a lengthy, snow-delayed slate of bills including marijuana legalization, family medical leave and a possible state department of veterans affairs. Plus a new transitional housing unit signals a new approach to mental health care in N.H.  

This show was taped Thursday, January 11, 2018.


Laura Greenberg knows firsthand how important housing supports can be for someone experiencing a mental health crisis. The Nashua resident said being involved in the Bridge Program at Harbor Homes helped her to avert homelessness during her own crisis several years ago. Today, she's “back on track” and working as a licensed nurse assistant.

"13 Reasons Why" & How to Talk About Teen Suicide

Dec 26, 2017
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Our listeners voted for their favorite 2017 episodes of The Exchange. Today, it's our conversation about the controversial Netflix series "Thirteen Reasons Why," which brought  the issues of sexual assault, cyberbullying, and suicide to millions of young viewers.  But it upset many in the mental health field, concened that the show glorifies suicide.  That sparked a renewed conversation about these topics and the best way to present them, especially in an age when shows and images can go viral before parents can tune in.

This program was originally broadcast on May 17, 2017


A new, national study has alarming predictions for New Hampshire. The report draws a strong connection between substance abuse and suicide, and says the Granite State will have among the country's highest suicide risks in the upcoming decade.  We get more details, also local reaction to this report, and ideas for mitigating this possibility.


Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults in New Hampshire, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Exeter Hospital recently endorsed an initiative for suicide prevention as a part of a five-year strategy to address the on-going issue in the state.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Debra Vasapolli, director of community relations for the hospital, about the Zero Suicide initiative.

  (Editor's note: this transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.)

Fifteen years ago, former New Hampshire Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick was attacked by his son, who had an undiagnosed mental illness. Now, Broderick  is on a mission to increase awareness of the signs of mental illness that he missed in his son.

Last year he began speaking to high school and college students as part of the Change Direction New Hampshire campaign and he continues that effort tomorrow in Canaan, N.H., in a joint appearance with state Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut.

Sara Plourde

We talk to NHPR reporter Paige Sutherland about two topics in her series, "Alternatives - N.H. Gets Creative to Curb Ongoing Opioid Crisis": an acupuncture detoxification treatment and involuntary commitment. 


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Just three days ago, New Hampshire set a grim record: 74 adults and kids stuck waiting in ERs across the state because there wasn’t a place for them to get mental health treatment. That’s the highest number since advocates started tracking.

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Earlier this year, the legislature passed a package of reforms meant to expand access to mental health treatment. New Hampshire's Department of Health and Human Services is having mixed success soliciting vendors to oversee those changes — they’ve received multiple proposals for some projects but none for others.

NHPR’s Rewind: How Mental Health is Treated

Jul 24, 2017

Medical scholars have long researched and debated the best methods to treat people with mental health problems. A recent Exchange episode explored how the philosophy of wilderness therapy – the idea that camping in a natural setting can be a treatment for patients struggling with mental health problems. But when gauging the benefits of wilderness therapy, it may be useful to examine the success of more common methods used to treat mental health: medication and talk therapy.

Garrett Vonk

Three years after the state reached a major legal settlement meant to reform its mental health system, both the outside reviewer hired to monitor the state’s progress and the advocacy organization that sued on patients’ behalf say there’s still significant work to be done.

NHPR Staff

The reviewer overseeing reforms outlined in a lawsuit settlement over mental health care says New Hampshire has made significant advances toward compliance.

Court-appointed monitor Stephen Day cites "the very positive results" in the number of people being treated in the community rather than in hospital emergency departments that have been made possible by mobile crisis teams in Concord and Manchester. Mobile crisis services have helped more people access crisis services, delivered more crisis services, and led to "substantial growth" in people accessing crisis apartments.

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