mental health services and treatment

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NH makes some progress on mental health treatment

Aug 21, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

The state budget passed this June added funding for mental health services in New Hampshire.  However, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has extended the deadline for proposals to provide some of those services because they did not receive enough applications.

The Legislature provided funding for:

  • More inpatient mental health beds at hospitals around the state
  • New transitional community housing units
  • A new mental health Mobile Crisis Team
  • A study of inpatient bed capacity
  • A new data management system to track inpatient beds
  • A ten-year plan to improve mental health services
  • A plan to improve due process rights for patients held involuntarily
  • A plan to move juveniles out of the state hospital in Concord

Meanwhile the state is still obligated to meet the terms of a 2014 lawsuit to increase outpatient mental health services in communities around the state.  As of the end of June, an independent evaluator concluded that New Hampshire was meeting most of those requirements. 

The evaluator criticized the state for failing to fully staff Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) – teams that can provide services out in the community.  Under the terms of the lawsuit, the state is supposed to serve up to 1,500 individuals with ACT.  The state only has capacity to serve 1,174 individuals. 

DHHS responded that the lawsuit settlement terms should be revised.

“While New Hampshire believe that the 970 individuals currently being served benefit form ACT services, it does not believe that there are significantly more individuals who require ACT services.”

- Jeffrey Meyers, Commissioner, DHHS 

All of these additional mental health services are intended to address the large number of citizens entering emergency rooms in mental health crisis.  On any given day, sixty or more individuals are waiting in hospitals for a room to open at New Hampshire Hospital in Concord. 

Some advocates believe the state must add more beds at the state hospital to serve its citizens. 

However, others argue that the number of individuals seeking inpatient treatment would drop of the state provided more community-based treatment.

Do you have an opinion on mental health services in New Hampshire?  Let us know in the comments below.

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