HHS Drops Mental Health Staff

The Department of Health and Human Services is passing out pink slips today. The layoffs are part of the effort to privatize services for people with mental illness.

Currently the state employs 80 people to staff the transitional housing program for patients who can’t easily find places to live elsewhere.

Beginning in January, under the state budget, the workforce will drop to 55 and be managed by the Massachusetts-based private not-for-profit named NFI.   

New Hampshire Hospital CEO Dr. Robert McLeod says the estimated $3 million dollar savings will go to help mental health patients gain independence.

“More supervised housing out in the community. More group settings, independent living settings, anything that will make some one more productive out in the community.”

A number of people laid off are expected to pick up similar work at either the New Hampshire Hospital or with NFI.

Critics, including the state employee’s union, say fewer employees could jeopardize the safety of patients and staff.