NH DHHS Seeks Public Input, Announces Information Sessions for Ten-Year Mental Health Plan
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is seeking public input on the development of its Ten-Year Mental Health Plan (Plan). The Plan will provide a framework to anticipate and address the mental health needs of New Hampshire residents, and feedback from stakeholders and the public will inform the development of the Plan.
“The landscape of mental health has changed significantly since the previous Ten-Year Mental Health Plan was developed in 2008,” said DHHS Commissioner Jeffrey A. Meyers. “We continue to see an increase in demand for inpatient psychiatric treatment services, more children and families requiring a broad array of services, and the impact of the opioid epidemic on individuals, families and communities. If the new Plan is to address mental health needs today and tomorrow, it is critical that we have input from all stakeholders, most importantly those who rely on these critical services.”
“Reforming New Hampshire’s mental health system has been a primary focus of my administration. How we best move forward in improving that system and expanding capacity is a key focus of the Ten-Year Mental Health Plan,” said Governor Christopher T. Sununu. “Transparency, a diversity of input and the ability to make modifications based on that input is essential in crafting that plan. I thank Commissioner Meyers and the Department for providing these additional opportunities.”
To provide opportunities for the individuals and their families, advocates, providers, and elected officials the opportunity to provide input on the Plan, DHHS is holding 6 public information sessions in September and October throughout the State. Each session is scheduled for 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.
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 Medical Center
Education & Training Center
10 Prospect Street, Nashua
Manchester, October 9th
Manchester City Hall
One City Hall Plaza, Manchester
Concord, December 3rd
Location is TBD
5:00 pm -7:00 pm
DHHS will use the information already provided through work groups along with public input to produce a draft report. The last session in Concord has been scheduled for October 25th to allow for input on the completed draft report, which will be issued in the middle of October. DHHS will also provide a three week written comment period on the draft report that will commence following the Concord session. For more information on the Ten-Year Mental Health Plan, please visit https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcbcs/bbh/10-year-mh-plan.htm.
If accommodations are needed for communication access such as interpreters, CART (captioning), assistive listening devices, or other auxiliary aids and/or services, please contact Laura Rebolledoat 603-271-9544 or Laura.Rebolledo@dhhs.nh.gov 5 business days before a public input session. At least 5 business days advance notice is requested in order to assure availability; requests made fewer than 5 days prior to the event will attempt to be accommodated but cannot be guaranteed.
If you're attending, here are some talking points and tips for speaking up:
- Identify yourself and where you’re from.
- Share your story! Your story is crucial to make change in the Granite State.
- Be brief. Keep your presentation under 5 minutes, if possible.
- Prepare your thoughts in advance.
Topline Message: The New Hampshire children’s behavioral health system remains underfunded and fragmented, leaving children and families without access to the integrated supports needed to address problems early, when treatment is most effective and efficient. Call on the Governor and Legislature to commit to investing adequate resources to move the 10-Year Mental Health Plan forward during the next legislative session.
Additional talking points, especially if they align with your personal experience or story:
Continue to expand the System of Care for children with behavioral health needs
- Create a single point of entry into the system for children and families
- Increase coordination within State government. Eliminate the silos!
- Integrate pockets of excellence around the State into a true state-wide system of care
- Expand and coordinate suicide prevention efforts throughout New Hampshire communities
- Reduce reliance on restrictive settings through expansion of evidence-based interventions in the community
- Address waitlists for services & workforce challenges
- Further integration of behavioral health and primary care
- Expand support for school-based behavioral health interventions. Schools play an important in the promotion of children’s behavioral health, early identification and coordination when treatment is needed.
- Ensure the System of Care values and principles are incorporated at every level of NH's child-serving system and that policies, procedures and practices across the service continuum reflect these values and principles.
- Ensure all children, youth, and families have equal access to the System of Care regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, income, geographic location, or any other demographic detail or socio-economic factor. Promoting health equity and ensuring fair and just opportunities to be healthy must be a priority for the entire system serving children, youth, and families in NH.
Fill the gaps in the service array for children with behavioral health needs
- Prioritize access to mobile crisis response and stabilization services for children. This is a massive gap in our system. When a child is in crisis, families have limited options and often feel compelled to call the police or bring them to the emergency room. That's not where we should be treating our children with the greatest needs.
- Prioritize the expansion of evidenced-based home-and community-based supports services for children with complex behavioral health needs
- Continue to expand the availability of high fidelity wraparound services statewide and for ALL children who need it
- Ensure all programs and services are trauma-responsive
- Ensure availability of evidence-based early childhood interventions
- Increase availability of respite care to families
- Take steps to renovate or relocate the current children's unit at New Hampshire Hospital to a setting that is intended and more appropriate for children
- Increase availability of trained Peer Support Specialists (with lived experience) across the service array, including at Emergency Departments