mental health

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: January 11, 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
Jason Rogers / flickr/cc

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. 


NAMI New Hampshire, via Facebook

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.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

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.

David Kessler via Flickr

During the last 15 years, the number of opioids sold in this country has quadrupled, contributing to an epidemic of addiction and overdose that has ravaged communities in New Hampshire and across the country. 

Allegra Boverman

A major political controversy broke last week when state officials accused Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital of failing to live up to the terms of a contract to run the state psychiatric hospital.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  The New Hampshire Senate has given preliminary approval to a plan to significantly increase the number of psychiatric treatment beds in the state.

The plan the Senate sent to its Finance Committee on Thursday would require the state to contract with private hospitals and nonprofit facilities to set up 68 new beds. Twenty would be for those subject to involuntary admission, 40 would be community-based beds to help people transition from hospitalization and eight would be peer respite beds.

Thomas Fearon

Every day, an email goes out to leaders in New Hampshire’s mental health system. It gives an updated count on the number of people in immediate need of inpatient psychiatric care, but are being denied that care because of a shortage of beds in New Hampshire hospitals.

On February 20th of this year, that email contained a staggering number: 68 adults and children were being housed in hospital emergency rooms and hallways because of a lack of available beds. It was a new high.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers are trying to push through a last-minute effort this session to address the state’s ongoing shortage of treatment for those battling severe mental illness.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A proposal to reduce the long waiting times for people needing inpatient mental health services  is being heard Tuesday by a key state senate committee.  

Thomas Fearon

After a private tour of Concord Hospital’s emergency department, which on one day in February had 22 patients awaiting psychiatric services in a space designed for 6, Governor Sununu told reporters New Hampshire needs as many as 50 new beds for mental health patients, but he wants to create a mental health system where demand is less.

Eating Disorders Are Wide-Reaching And Multifaceted

Apr 10, 2017
Pexels

The Internet, social media, and increased awareness both help and hinder eating disorder treatment and management. And now, as more men and pre-teens are diagnosed with eating disorders, approaches toward resolving these problems are constantly evolving.


The average number of people waiting to gain access to a mental health bed in New Hampshire is now 46, up from nine in 2013.

The Portsmouth Herald reports that Republican Gov. Chris Sununu says he gets daily reports on the issue which he calls a crisis.

The governor has a meeting scheduled for Monday to develop plans to tackle the problem.

The executive director of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Alliance of Mental Illness says the problem is exacerbated by hospitals closing their psychiatric units to focus on more profitable endeavors.

Transgender: Exploring Gender Identity

Mar 30, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

Many people struggle with basic questions about gender and labels, including the concept of a transgender identity. While debate around recent legislation has brought the issue into the spotlight, social media and the internet have played a key role in shifting the culture's perspective on gender for several years.

On this edition of The Exchange, we'll look at the terms, the biology, and the emotional aspects of gender identity.


Portsmouth Regional Hospital

Portsmouth Regional Hospital will open more beds to psychiatric patients. The hospital hopes those beds will alleviate a backlog of patients boarded in emergency rooms.

On one day last month, a record 68 patients in acute mental health crises were stuck in emergency rooms around the state, waiting for a bed at New Hampshire Hospital, the state's lone psychiatric hospital. Now Portsmouth Regional will increase its inpatient psychiatric beds from eight to twelve in the hopes of chipping away at that wait time. 

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Michael Treadwell sat at the back of a courtroom.  In a windbreaker and khaki pants, he leaned over his work boots, elbows on his knees. At first, I thought he was chewing gum – a bold choice in a courtroom.  When we began to talk, I discovered it wasn't gum Michael was chewing.  It was his own gums. Michael doesn't have any teeth.

Jack Rodolico

Starting October 30, Andrew Dixon spent 13 days in the emergency room at Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester. And as his father, John Dixon, describes that time, you might think Andrew had committed a crime. 

NHPR

The state of New Hampshire could find itself back in court this year if it doesn’t comply with a class-action settlement aimed at rebuilding the state’s damaged mental health system. 

  A survey from the National Alliance on Mental Illness shows that for people with insurance, mental healthcare is still tougher to access than other kinds of care. There are a variety of reasons for that. Here to discuss this report is Ken Norton. He’s the executive director of NAMI New Hampshire. He spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

The state's top health official wants to know if layoffs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock will affect care at the state psychiatric hospital.

In a letter to Dartmouth-Hitchcock CEO Dr. James Weinstein, Health Commissioner Jeff Meyers asks if psychiatric staff will be among the 84 layoffs from across the healthcare system. The letter comes as Dartmouth-Hitchcock's relationship with the state is under a lot of scrutiny. 

NHPR

Even as the state moves forward with plans for meeting the mental health needs of Granite Staters, workers in this field, from psychiatrists to specially trained nurses, are scarce. The factors are many, ranging from inadequate salaries to licensing boards that make it difficult for job seekers to cross state lines. 


THOMAS FEARON

The Executive Council voted unanimously today to allow Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital to mange care at the state psychiatric hospital for the next three years.

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