Children's Behavioral Health Issue
April 2018
Mental health - social-emotional well-being - is fundamental to overall health and an important contributor to a child's success in school and in adulthood.  That's why the Endowment supports the efforts led by the NH Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative, comprised of more than 50 child and family organizations focused on transforming the system of mental health care for children, youth and families.  This issue is dedicated to recent developments and accomplishments in the field of Children's Behavioral Health.
New Leadership at
NH Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative
Policy Coordinator Becky Whitley of the Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative (NHCBHC) brings a deep understanding of policy and advocacy.  She was previously a staff attorney representing children and families in her work with the Disability Rights Center.  She has worked on issues such as access to appropriate medical, special education and other community-based services as well as issues related to Medicaid.  Now Becky brings this expertise and understanding of NH programs and services to her work with the Collaborative.  She received her B.B.A. from The George Washington University and a J.D. from Vermont Law School.

"CBHC's work is more important than ever as New Hampshire grapples with several crises related to the health and well-being of our children," Becky emphasized. "I'm committed to working with Collaborative members and stakeholders on policies that will transform the way we care for youth with behavioral health needs and their families."

Community Engagement Coordinator Dellie Champagne works to build a constituency of mental health advocates comprised primarily of children, youth and families. Her passion for mental health awareness is fueled by personal experience. Her son lives with Schizoaffective Disorder and Dellie has advocated for his needs from the onset.  Dellie serves on the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Council for the Disability Rights Center and is a member of the Board of Directors of NFI North.  She was recently awarded the 2017 Champions for Mental Health Award from Riverbend.  Dellie received her B.A. in Sociology and her M.Ed. in Education from the University of New Hampshire.  She is currently working on another Master's Degree in Human Services.

"I am excited to continue the good work the Collaborative has done for New Hampshire's children, youth and families," she said.
EH Annual Meeting Spotlights Children's Behavioral Health
Former NH Chief Justice John Broderick (left) explains his family's experience and how he has used his voice with others to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of mental illness, with an emphasis on recognizing the five signs of mental illness.  Joining him is Peter Evers, President and CEO of Riverbend Community Mental Health.

An in-depth discussion on creating a brighter future for New Hampshire by improving children's behavioral health.  From left to right:  Moderator Becky Whitley, NH Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative; Patricia Tilley, NH Division of Public Health Services, NH DHHS; Wanda Castillo, Manchester Community Health Center; JoAnne Malloy, Institute on Disability, UNH; and Brian Huckins, NAMI NH.

The Endowment for Health Annual Meeting was held on March 26th and focused on the theme of the Voice Collective.  More than 260 people attended the meeting which featured an ever-popular networking session, slide-show of grantee accomplishments and information-packed resource tables.

After a rousing kick-off featuring examples of community partners using their voices to make positive change in NH, the program delved into the topic of children's behavioral health.  Experts, advocates and influencers shared examples of how they are using their voices to raise awareness and create a better system of care for children and families.
Family Advocate Bobbie Erskine Receives Jennifer Wierwille Norton Memorial Champion for Children's Behavioral Health Award
From left to right:  Becky Whitley, NH Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative; Aurora Erskine, Youth Advocate; Bobbie Erskine, Family Advocate; Brian Huckins, NAMI NH; Kim Firth, Endowment for Health
Bobbie Erskine, mother and family advocate for children with mental health conditions, is this year's recipient of the Jennifer Wierwille Norton Memorial Champion for Children's Behavioral Health Award.  Bobbie used her voice and advocacy skills to improve the situation for her own family and made significant contributions last year in educating legislators.  Her courageous and powerful testimony helped to convince policymakers about the effectiveness of the FAST Forward Program and the importance of offering this approach to other families.  Due to a recent policy change, the Program will be expanded in July 2018 through a Medicaid state plan amendment.  Bobbie is an inspiration to the field and demonstrates that families' voices can change the system and provide hope to other families living with mental illness.      
Implementing a System of Care for Children's Behavioral Health

In 2016, Governor Sununu signed into law 135-F, a bill that required the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to work together to develop an integrated and comprehensive delivery structure for the provision of publicly funded behavioral health services to New Hampshire children and youth. Central to the success of that law, annual reports document expenditures associated with the provision of children's behavioral health care across state agencies, and assess the extent to which services are consistent with a system of care approach.  Additionally, the Year 2 report documents gaps in the service array and highlights ongoing and planned quality improvement efforts.  The Endowment for Health funded the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire to provide technical assistance. 
Revising NH's 10-Year Behavioral Health Plan

Ten years ago, the NH Department of Health and Human Services issued a 10-year strategic plan to address gaps in the mental health system, primarily focused on adult services. Due to a variety of factors, many strategies outlined in the Plan were not implemented. During the 2017 legislative session, a bill was signed into law that required development of a new 10-year strategic plan for mental health including services and supports needed across the lifespan.
Since the kick-off meeting in January 2018, there has been acknowledgement of the unique needs of the pediatric population and inclusion of stakeholders representing children's behavioral health systems. Focus groups have been held with the Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative and Pyramid Model Leadership Team representing the interests of early childhood through transition age youth. Workgroups will be formed to identify and vet promising system and practice-level solutions.
A prioritized list of strategies will be developed across the continuum of care as input in the development of the 10-year plan. You can receive updates, ask questions and make suggestions by sending an email to:   

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