Health
3:47 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Hassan Signs $11 Million Mental Health Package

Gov. Hassan signs House Bill 1635 into law, surrounded by mental health advocates and lawmakers.
Gov. Hassan signs House Bill 1635 into law, surrounded by mental health advocates and lawmakers.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Governor Hassan has signed legislation designed to strengthen the state’s mental health system, a result of a class-action lawsuit filed in 2012.

The law allocates roughly $11 million through next fiscal year for increased community-based treatment options including supportive housing and crisis response teams. It is the first portion of a $30 million settlement agreement reached in December.

The Disabilities Rights Center and U.S. Department of Justice had sued the state in federal court over its lack of adequate care for people with mental illness.

“We need to offer the right care, at the right time, at the right place, just as we would for anyone suffering from any kind of illness or medical challenge,” says Hassan.

“The community-level approach reflected in this bill builds on the significant progress we made in our bipartisan budget to strengthen community-based mental health services in a fiscally responsible way that protects our budget and ensures improvements in our mental health system are being driven by our citizens and not federal judges.”

Advocates say the funding will help restore New Hampshire’s strained system, and keep people in mental health crisis out of ill-equipped emergency rooms.