mental health

A Progress Report on N.H.'s Mental Health Settlement

Jul 14, 2015
Dan4th Nicholas / Flickr CC

A year ago, New Hampshire reached a huge legal agreement with those who sued and won, over the poor state of mental services.  Now, a year later a court-ordered report finds progress lagging, on most measures but also praises the state’s commitment by the state to follow through.  We’ll get the details.

Thomas Fearon / NHPR

Last year, New Hampshire settled a class action lawsuit that alleged the state was violating the civil rights of people with mental illness. In the settlement, the state agreed to spend $30 million over four years to beef up services for those individuals.

Now, one year into the deal, a report from a court-appointed monitor says the state hasn’t yet hit the benchmarks it agreed to.

Bad news first

Thomas Fearon / NHPR

A new report finds New Hampshire is struggling to improve its mental health system, as it agreed to in a $30 million dollar lawsuit settlement. 

A court-appointed monitor finds, one year into the settlement, the state is lagging on nearly every benchmark. 

Jack Rodolico

As the next state budget takes shape, Gov. Maggie Hassan and legislative leaders have been debating how to fund New Hampshire's mental health system. The state spends more than $100 million each year providing these services, and one word sums up the sentiment in the mental health community right now: uncertainty.

  Case in point, a construction site at New Hampshire Hospital.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

As the heroin crisis in New Hampshire continues, and the number of overdoses grows, communities around the state are addressing the issues with increasing urgency.

Isaias via Flickr CC

In 2000, a committee of researchers compiled nearly a century of knowledge on how children develop from birth to age five. The findings, published in a 600-page book titled From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development, covered everything from the long-standing debate over “nature vs. nurture” to the latest breakthroughs in neuroscience.

 

New Hampshire's two congressional representatives are hosting a mental health summit to discuss establishing a national strategy for the treatment of mental illness and increased investment in research for its prevention and treatment.

The summit is being hosted by Republican Frank Guinta and Democrat Annie Kuster at the UNH School of Law in Concord on Monday.

Among the participants are state Health Commissioner Nick Toumpas, Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau and Ken Norton of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in New Hampshire.

Lakeview Systems

A beleaguered company accused of neglecting and abusing people with disabilities has sold off most of its programs in New Hampshire.

Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center in Effingham has come under heavy fire for neglecting the people it is paid to care for – minors and adults with disabilities and brain injuries. Since September the facility has been under review by the state.

And until last week, parent company Lakeview Systems owned eight other programs with a total of about 55 beds in six New Hampshire communities.

Best Of 2014 - Stressed Out: Who, Why, And How

Dec 29, 2014
Marsmettnn Tallahassee / Flickr/CC

This week, The Exchange will play the five best shows of 2014, as voted by you. Here's a July program on stress: From major challenges like chronic illness or financial problems to minor annoyances like traffic jams or inconsiderate neighbors, stress affects us all.  For some, it can be overwhelming, while others find ways to cope and even use it to their advantage. In connection with the NPR series on this topic, we’re exploring the latest thinking on stress.

This program was originally broadcast on July 17, 2014.

GUESTS:

Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center, Effingham, NH.

A new state report documents systemic neglect and abuse at a residential facility for people with disabilities in Effingham.

Now the state will determine if the facility can keep its doors open. But the state may simply be ill-equipped to stop these kinds of problems before they happen.

How N.H. Schools Are Tackling Suicide

Dec 15, 2014
Sarah Lousie / Flickr/CC

With almost fourteen percent of New Hampshire teens surveyed saying they’d considered taking their own lives, educators are increasingly focused on this, with programs that address mental health, substance abuse, cyber bullying, and sexuality. We’ll find out what some schools are doing, and the questions that inevitably come up.

This show was originally broadcast on 10/14/14.

GUESTS:

Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center, Effingham.

A report due out Monday could determine the future of a facility for people with disabilities. But some advocates are already concerned about how that report was written.

In September, the Disability Rights Center alleged the death of one resident at Lakeview Neurorehabilition Center in Effingham was indicative of a wide pattern of neglect, abuse and isolation.

"There were pervasive problems with clients not being appropriately monitored, clients being injured," says Karen Rosenberg. "Yet the [Department of Health and Human Services] took no action."

The Lamprey Health Care center in Newmarket is getting a $242,000 grant through the Affordable Care Act to create or expand its mental health and substance abuse treatment programs.

The grant is part of $51 million in grants announced Thursday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The money is going to 210 health centers to expand services to 440,000 people around the country.

At Lamprey, the grant means the number of people in New Hampshire with access to mental health or substance abuse treatment will increase by just over 200.

Via Wikimedia Commons

Three school districts in New Hampshire are sharing a federal grant worth nearly $10 million to improve access to mental health services in schools.

The grant to the Berlin public schools, the Franklin school district and the district covering Colebrook, Stewartstown and Pittsburg will serve about 4,000 people for five years. About 700 adults will be trained each year with the goal of making schools safer and reducing bullying, suspensions, substance abuse and behavioral problems.

Jack Rodolico

Anyone can take a first aid class to learn how to perform CPR or splint a broken bone. But how should you respond to someone not in a physical health crisis, but a mental health crisis?

Mental health professionals in New Hampshire are promoting a course in mental health first aid. The goal is to train the general public to recognize the signs of mental illness - and encourage them to intervene.

For 20 years, Charlie fought bruising battles with mental illness. When he was at his lowest point, here’s how he describes his life.

For the second time in three years, the Brattleboro Retreat faces a potential loss in federal funding because of a failed inspection. Despite the warnings, the state’s commissioner of mental health says he’s still confident that the retreat can provide quality care.

The federal warning comes after a suicide attempt at the Brattleboro Retreat in June which, after retreat staff notified the state, prompted a site visit of the facility.

Hassan Signs $11 Million Mental Health Package

Jul 11, 2014
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.

various brennemans via Flickr Creative Commons

Prove it, innate, survival of the fittest, organic… scientific terminology is part of our everyday language, but are we using the terms correctly? Today we’re testing the theory of misusing scientific terms. And, with the state breaking ground on a new women’s prison next month, we’ll consider whether the specific needs of female inmates can be addressed by re-thinking prison design. Then, mental illness creates a stigma that is almost impossible to erase, even for sports celebrities. We wonder: why isn’t Delonte West in the NBA?

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.


NHPR / Michael Brindley

Senator Kelly Ayotte and Representative Ann McLane Kuster were in Manchester on Monday to help kick off New Hampshire’s new mental health first aid program.

Once this week’s training is complete, the 30 participants will be certified as mental health first aid instructors.

Suellen Griffin is Executive Director of West Center Behavioral Health in Lebanon.

She says those taking part – including two people from her center – come from all corners of the state and will be responsible for sharing what they learned with residents in communities.

Rising Concerns About Childhood Anxiety

May 20, 2014
CubaGallery / Flickr/CC

Childhood has always had its fears - from monsters under the bed, to sleep-away camp, to schoolyard bullies. But normal jitters, about these and other childhood challenges, become an issue when they interfere with regular activities, from riding the bus to going to bed at night. And this kind of debilitating anxiety seems to be on the rise: now affecting close to 1 in 5  kids.

J. Stephen Conn via Flickr CC

The House has killed a bill that allowed people barred from buying guns for mental health reasons to prove to a judge they're capable of owning a firearm.

Thomas Fearon / NHPR

In the 1990s, New Hampshire topped national rankings for its mental health system. Over the past twenty years, however, care has deteriorated to the point of crisis. With the erosion of community-based care, a ‘revolving door’ pattern of hospital admissions, and an alarming number of mentally ill Granite Staters in our prisons and jails. And so, in early 2012, the Disabilities Rights Center filed a lawsuit against the state on behalf of six plaintiffs who had experienced prolonged stays in state institutions.

Calling the deal a “responsible resolution,” Judge Steven McAuliffe approved a major settlement agreement on Wednesday that will bring more resources to people in crisis.

Plaintiffs had brought a class action suit against the state, alleging that a lack of services resulted in unnecessary institutionalization of people with mental illness. The U.S. Department of Justice joined the case, saying the state was violating the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Gun Store / Flickr Creative Commons

A new bill would prohibit gun sales to some with mental illness. Supporters say it’s a common sense public safety measure. But there has been fierce opposition from some gun-rights groups, and from advocates who say the mentally ill are being unfairly singled out and are far more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violence.

GUESTS:

Attacks by two psychiatric patients awaiting treatment at Manchester’s Elliot Hospital last year underscored the well-documented problems with New Hampshire’s mental health system.

In December, the state agreed to settle a federal lawsuit filed in 2012 on behalf of six plaintiffs who had cycled in and out of emergency rooms and the state mental hospital. The state has agreed to spend $30 million over the next three years to re-build its community-based system of care, once considered a national model.

Six Months After Attack, A Family Works To Recover

Jan 21, 2014
Todd Bookman / NHPR

The state’s mental health system has been under tremendous strain in recent years. Cuts to services in the community, combined with dwindling in-patient beds, mean patients in crisis end up waiting days for treatment--sometimes longer-- inside ill-equipped emergency rooms.

Last summer, two violent attacks inside Manchester’s Elliot Hospital ER brought to light just how unstable the situation has become. 

Donald Wyman was one of the victims of those assaults. He worked as a nursing assistant, but six months later, he’s still working toward recovery.

Paul W Hayes / Flickr Creative Commons

After more than a decade of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, American troops are coming home.  For many, it’s a wonderful time, to return to family and a normal life. But for veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, the transition is a rough road.   In New Hampshire, more a quarter who fought in these wars say they’ve struggled with PTSD, and a fifth with some kind of brain injury.

The state of New Hampshire has agreed to settle a major class-action lawsuit over its treatment of residents with serious mental illness.

Under the terms of the agreement announced Thursday, the state will spend an additional $30 million on expanding services for the strained mental health system over the next 4 years. 

courtesy of Tim Schreier, flickr creative commons

Since Newtown, debates over gun violence have focused largely on how to keep guns out of the hands of people who kill other people. The truth is that - by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 - suicide is the leading cause of death by gun violence.

It’s a toll not often discussed, but one that some law enforcement and public health officials say is worsened by easy access to guns.  We spoke to Leon Neyfakh this past January when he wrote about the topic in the Ideas section of The Boston Globe.

Thomas Fearon / NHPR

The unthinkable event that left twenty school kids and six teachers dead in Newtown, Connecticut last year, stunned a nation. But Newtown didn’t stand alone; there have been many incidents in the last few years that left us in disbelief, like the ones at Virginia Tech, Washington’s naval shipyard, an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, and a Wisconsin Sikh Temple. The two things they had in common: a gun was used, and in many cases the perpetrator had a mental illness. This year, as debates crossed the country about gun control; the question ‘are we doing enough for the mentally ill?’ arose.

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