Whether it’s the debate over expanding Medicaid or the struggle to improve mental health services, his department has seen its share of challenges lately, but did receive a bit of a boost in the last budget. We’ll talk with the commissioner about all this, and controversy over the state’s Medicaid managed care plan.
- Nick Toumpas - Commissioner for the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
Almost one-in-ten New Hampshire children is diagnosed with some type of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, putting us around the middle of the pack nationally. But those numbers may rise as New England and New Hampshire show a particular predilection toward labeling our kids with ADHD. These expected increases have once again raised a long, ongoing conversation here about what this disorder is, and what it isn’t, about whether too many children are diagnosed or if some kids in some demographic groups are under-diagnosed. And what about the role of drugs?
A Laconia man was arraigned today in District Court on 2nd degree murder charges stemming from an incident over the weekend. 19-year old Kasey Riley is accused of strangling Zachary March inside apartments run by Genesis Behavioral Health. Genesis provides support to residents, but not 24-hour monitoring at the facility.
Governor Hassan today announced the reopening of 12 psychiatric beds at New Hampshire Hospital. They'll be used to treat adults over the age of 55 in need of both psychiatric help and medical attention, and are meant to shore up a mental health system that the Governor calls deeply strained.
We spoke with Mac McClelland about the spread of the invisible disorder that somewhere between 100 and 300-thousand veterans brought back from war …trauma. “Secondary traumatic stress” does not have its own entry in the DSM, and is often called compassion fatigue, a more euphemistic title. Sufferers experience PTSD symptoms, but are often faced with even more hurtles than veterans when seeking help. The important difference people see between the victims of PTSD and secondary traumatic stress is that the latter’s trauma was not originally their own. Mac McClelland wrote an article for Mother Jones’ about the phenomenon of secondary traumatic stress and its affect on the families of returned soldiers. She’s also working on a book about PTSD.
A recent article in the Concord Monitor outlines the often-hidden but serious problem of this mental illness. An estimated one-in-ten Americans have this disease and have to deal with not only the symptoms, but managing the health care system and the stigma around depression. We’ll look at this issue and how it’s addressed in New Hampshire.
Later this week 110 members of the New Hampshire Army National Guard will mobilize in support of combat operations in Afghanistan. The 237th Military Police Company will train in Texas for several months before departing to Khost Province.
77 of the soldiers are deploying for the first time. But others are on their second and third; one is one his fifth deployment.
It’s those repeated deployments that have been a signature of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – and a researcher at UNH, they could take a toll on servicemembers’ families.
Advocates for the state’s mental health centers say the state hasn’t lived up to its own plan to improve services in the state. And this week, they’re calling for more than $37 million in increased funding to support a stretched system.
The state’s 10-year plan, called ‘A Strategy For Restoration,’ came out in 2008. It called for major investments in the state’s mental health system, and was hailed as a great step forward. But 5 years into the initiative, advocates say the state has actually slid backwards.
The recent and somewhat controversial changes to the manual to diagnose mental illness, also known as the DSM-5, will become official later this spring. Edits to the manual are based around an evolving understanding of mental disorders, which historically, haven’t always been accurate. A shocking diagnosis took hold at the height of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s, when thousands of young black men were arrested at protests and sent to the Ionia State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Michigan, where they were systematically diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Though it’s unclear what motivated the shootings, many say mental health care can be a line of defense in preventing tragedies. But in the Granite State, these services have been cut and a new report says the system is in “crisis”. As part of a three day series on possible lessons from Newtown, we look at the conversation around mental health.
Advocates for mental health services say the state’s plan to re-open 12 beds at New Hampshire Hospital doesn’t go far enough to improve care. Representatives from more than a dozen organizations gathered today in Concord, and described a system stretched beyond its limits.
And they want New Hampshire lawmakers to know that no other medical condition gets treated this way.
Treatment of the mentally ill has come a long way from the dark, locked wards of asylums now shuttered and crumbling in several New England towns. We now know much more about the brain, psychopharmacology and the importance of community for people suffering with profound mental conditions.