We are so grateful to the NAMI NH teachers, leaders, and speakers who have stepped up during these challenging times of COVID-19 to help ensure supports and programs remain available.

Whether switching gears to make previously in-person educational programs available via web, learning new technology to enable remote support groups, or pivoting to make live presentations online - you're rocking it!

It is an honor to do this work alongside you.  Thank you for stepping up to support Granite Staters affected by mental illness and suicide.  #HopeStartsWithYou  #InThisTogether
March 31, 2020
Emergency Department Boarding Hit Zero for First Time in 8+ Years
For the first time in more than 8 years, last week emergency department boarding hit zero - with no one in a mental health crisis boarded in a New Hampshire emergency department while awaiting an inpatient psychiatric bed.  
Remarking on the occasion, NAMI New Hampshire Executive Director Ken Norton stated, "After 8 long years of people in mental health crisis being boarded in emergency departments, we celebrate this important milestone - a return to humane practice with immediate access to timely and effective treatment.  We are grateful for all who have worked so diligently to resolve these issues, and especially to the frontline staff at New Hampshire Hospital and other inpatient facilities, emergency departments, community mental health centers, the NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and law enforcement and first responders.  Despite the COVID-19 crisis, they are working hard to provide care, help, and hope to individuals with mental illness."
It has been a long road to reduce the prevalence of emergency department (ED) boarding.   In January 2013, NAMI New Hampshire, joined by 15 other organizations, held a press conference to draw attention to, and decry the practice of, emergency department boarding.  NAMI NH has consistently called out ED boarding as wrong medically, legally, ethically, morally, and economically.  
Medically wrong  - because people don't receive timely treatment to reduce their suffering and promote speedy recovery - delayed treatment means less optimal long-term outcomes.  Treatment delayed is treatment denied.  It is also medically wrong because ED boarding delays treatment for people with other medical conditions who need emergency treatment.  
Legally wrong  - for individuals who meet the criteria for emergency psychiatric admission, New Hampshire law states they "shall be immediately" transported to a designated receiving facility.  ED boarding is also legally wrong because New Hampshire law establishes a due process hearing after 72 hours, along with other legal protections ignored during ED boarding.
Ethically wrong  - ED boarding places medical providers in the untenable position of failing to uphold the standard of care to "do no harm."   
Morally wrong  - treatment is not categorically denied to patients with heart disease, diabetes or any other medical condition.  
Economically wrong  - emergency departments are one of the costliest hospital services, and individuals could receive more effective and less costly treatment in other settings.
Although New Hampshire ranked top in the nation for community-based mental health services in the early 1990s, the mental health service delivery system deteriorated significantly after that, with the ED boarding crisis serving as the most visible symptom.  
When NAMI NH publicly identified emergency department boarding as a crisis in January 2013, there were an average of 10 adults and 1-2 children boarded daily.  Those numbers rose dramatically over the next several years, sometimes averaging more than 50 individuals, with waits for inpatient beds that could last 3-4 weeks.  The highest year was 2017 - on May 25, 2017, there were 27 children boarded in emergency departments, and 71 adults were waiting for inpatient admission on August 21, 2017. 
Looking back historically, the emergency department boarding crisis will represent another sad chapter in the treatment of mental illness.  Individuals who experienced being boarded, along with their family members, and many emergency medicine providers, decried the practice as inhumane.  Some people were held in windowless rooms, without access to street clothes, phones, or other personal devices.  Others were held in gurneys in hallways, or separated from other patients only by a curtain. Some individuals who became aggressive or assaultive were sent to jails.  At the peak of the emergency department boarding crisis, some individuals waited 3-4 weeks for an inpatient psychiatric bed admission.
Emergency department boarding was also very difficult for hospital staff who were neither trained nor equipped to provide ongoing care for people experiencing a psychiatric crisis. While it was a challenge to manage individuals in crisis who were sometimes aggressive, the chief of security of one hospital summed up the inhumanity of the situation by sharing, "The biggest challenge we faced from a security perspective is that when we allow people out of their room to go to the bathroom, they sometimes refused to go back into their rooms..."
The reasons behind the explosive growth of emergency department boarding are complex.  It is a national problem, though few other areas of the United States saw the sometimes weeks-long delays experienced by people in New Hampshire.  Longstanding discriminatory practices toward individuals with mental illness in access to care, in housing, in reimbursement rates to providers, and in research funding were all contributing factors, as were reductions in funding and community-based mental health services following the 2008 recession.  
Commenting on recent progress, NAMI NH Executive Director Ken Norton remarked, "We are hopeful the current COVID-19 crisis will not erase the gains New Hampshire has made in the past several years to rebuild our community-based system of mental health care. The 10-Year Mental Health Plan released by the NH Department of Health and Human Services in 2019 is serving as an excellent blueprint for expanding mental health services across the lifespan, and returning our state to the forefront nationally in delivery of mental health services.  NAMI NH is grateful for bipartisan support in the legislature and leadership from Governor Sununu, which laid the groundwork for eliminating ED boarding.  We look forward to continued work with NH DHHS and community providers in operationalizing  the 10-Year Mental Health Plan, especially the plans underway for a statewide system of mobile crisis response which will be very effective in diverting people from emergency departments and hospitalization." 
While the situation around COVID-19 is changing rapidly, help will continue to remain available for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.   NAMI NH encourages contacting your community mental health center, if safe to do so, before going to an emergency department.  For contact information, visit  www.NAMINH.org  or call 211.  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. 
Update from New Hampshire Hospital in Response to COVID-19
March 20, 2020

- New Hampshire Hospital is activating their surge plans to support taking on additional psychiatric patients from hospital emergency departments.

- Starting 3/20/20, one of the children's units is being changed over from 12 private beds to 24 semi-private adult beds.

- Hampstead Hospital is fully operational with treating children that had been served by New Hampshire Hospital.

- New Hampshire Hospital staff will be reaching out to all hospitals that have Involuntary Emergency Admissions (IEA) patients on the wait list to start admitting them, approximately 5-6 patients per day, including over this weekend.

- The second 12-bed children's unit will be changed over from 12 private beds to 24 semi-private adult beds once the final discharges and transitions as completed for 5 children. Those beds are expected to be operational by the end of next week. 

- New Hampshire Hospital staff will continue the outreach to all hospitals as the additional beds become available.

Online Support & Resources

While NAMI NH in-person support group meetings, classes, presentations, and trainings are currently suspended through May 4th, there is a wealth of remote support and resources available. Please reach out, and take good care.

Crisis Support - if you, or someone you know, is struggling emotionally - you are not alone. 

NAMI NH's Info & Resource Line continues to operate! 
To connect with support, message info@NAMINH.org or call 1-800-242-6264 (press 4).

NAMI NH's online Parent Support Group meets monthly on the 2nd Wednesday, 10:00 am - 11:00 am. To learn more, contact Carol Lemelin at 603-664-2116.

. NAMI NH Exec. Dir. Ken Norton Appears on NHPR's The Exchange

On  Monday , March 30th, NAMI New Hampshire Executive Director Ken Norton was a featured guest on The Exchange, to discuss how the mental health system is adjusting to COVID-19.  Listen to the program.
Public Policy Update
COVID-19 Advocacy: Share your mental health story

T he spread of coronavirus  is impacting  every person in this country , but   people affected by mental health conditions face unique challenges during this time.  
Have you  had trouble getting or staying on your mental health treatment plan ? Have you had challenges  getting needed medication, accessing therapy or  other  supports  during this emergency  

 H elp power NAMI's national advocacy by sharing how you 've been helped  during this time by your local, state or federal government  or   tell us about challenges you've experienced that have hurt your ability to get mental health care.  

In the Granite State...

New Futures, the  NH Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative (of which  NAMI New Hampshire is a partner organization), and  NH Alliance for Healthy Aging are working together to advance responsible legislation in light of the #COVID19 impact on New Hampshire. 

Your voice is needed to help identify trends and advocate for policy solutions. 
Please take a few moments to share the impact that  #COVID19 is having on you, and on your community.
Activity at NH Legislature Suspended

The NH Legislature has currently suspended activity due to COVID-19.

Click here to see NAMI NH's 2020 legislative priorities, read our testimony, track all of  the mental health and suicide prevention bills we're following this session, sign up for public policy alerts, and more.  Questions?  Don't hesitate to contact us: advocacy@NAMINH.org.
. Mental Health Counts (in the 2020 Census)

NAMI (National) CEO, Daniel H. Gillison, talks about the importance of the census for people with mental health conditions and why #MentalHealthCounts.

NAMI NH Advocacy Sponsor: 
General Federation of Women's Clubs
The General Federation of Women's Clubs made a $10,000 donation to support NAMI NH's advocacy efforts. This donation is part of the President's Project to Nurture Good Mental Health Through Awareness, and made possible through the Candia Community Woman's Club and their "In the Bag" fundraising.  Throughout the next year, clubs around the state will work with NAMI NH to raise awareness and funds. 
Save the Date: Friday, April 24th 
VIRTUAL Evening of Unity to Benefit NAMI NH
Save the date of Friday, April 24th for the 1st Annual GFWC NH Evening of Unity to benefit NAMI NH. Comedy by Linda Belt and 2020 Unity Award to be awarded.

In the News
Today in NH Emergency Departments...
 5 adults and
0 children
are waiting for psychiatric hospital care.

NAMI New Hampshire  can connect those impacted by long ED waits with information, resources and support.  Click here to learn more. 

NAMI NH continues to make the ED boarding crisis a top priority of advocacy efforts on behalf of individuals and families affected by mental illness and suicide.  

Family, Youth & Children Newsletter

The spring edition of the Family, Youth & Children Newsletter from the New Hampshire Family Network and  NAMI New Hampshire is here!

Happy National Social Work Month to Elaine, Bernie, & Ken!

Every day, the nation's 700,000 social workers act as advocates, champions and leaders who make our society a better place to live.   National Professional Social Work Month (March) is an opportunity for social workers across the country and their allies to turn the spotlight on the profession and highlight the important contributions they make to society.

Here at NAMI NH, we're wishing a very Happy National Professional Social Work Month to the social workers on our team (pictured above L to R): Elaine de Mello, Bernie Seifert, and Ken Norton!

Suicide Prevention & Survivors of Suicide Loss
Upcoming with NAMI NH
Join Us Online in April...

Be sure to follow NAMI New Hampshire on Facebook to catch the latest updates on our April happenings.  Looking forward to seeing you online!

Wednesday, April 15th, 12 PM

We have a terrific program in store for those who join us online on Wednesday, April 15th at noon!  Learn how to register for NAMIWalks NH, hear tips from some rockstar Team Captains, learn why NAMIWalks NH matters, and get ready to have more FUN than ever at NH's largest mental health and suicide prevention event on October 4th.

More Rally details coming soon... 

18th Annual NAMIWalks NH
Sunday, October 4, 2020
Concord, NH

Make plans to join us at New Hampshire's largest mental health and suicide prevention event!

Family-friendly, dog-friendly, free, and FUN - we look forward to seeing you at the 18th Annual NAMIWalks NH!

Walk Committee meetings are underway!  If you're interested in volunteering to help plan another record-breaking NAMIWalks NH, please contact Brittany Porter.

Life Under Construction Contest!

We are looking for art pieces that reflect the current state of the world, and the positives that we can find in these changes. Whether it's a reflection of the way we've adjusted our lives to keep others safe, a time we saw someone go out of the way to help someone else, or maybe how we've reconnected with people via social media, all positive actions and events matter. These pieces can be photograp hy, poetry, music, paintings, drawings, etc.

We will post your art on the Life Under Construction Facebook page. The post with the most likes will win a $25 gas card! Once your piece is posted, be sure to share it with family and friends!


· Submit your piece via our Twitter (@LUCNamiNH), Instagram (@lucnaminh), or Facebook ( Life Under Construction) pages' DMs, or email Michele Watson at mwatson@NAMINH.org
· Include a brief description to accompany your submission
· Submission piece must be your own work
· One entry per person
· All submissions are due by April 5th
· The piece with the most likes by April 12th wins!
· Ages 13-26, please include your age with your submission
· (1) Prize $25 gas card

We can't wait to see and share your art!

About Life Under Construction

This group provides a place for youth whose lives are affected by mental illness to share ideas, concerns, and questions they have about planning their future. Learn how you can get involved in helping to create a better mental health system for youth and how to support others affected by mental illness. We look forward to getting to know you!
Parent & Caregiver Group Monthly on 2nd Wed.

Monthly FEP/ESMI Stakeholder Meetings

All are welcome to attend the Monthly FEP/ESMI Stakeholder Meetings.  These meetings typically take place on the 2nd Tuesday, 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm at NAMI New Hampshire. To learn more or to RSVP, please message Michelle Wagner .

Coming this Spring - Save the Date for Connection Facilitator Training!
Veteran & Military Families

Registration OPEN for NAMI Homefront Online!

NAMI Homefront is a free class designed to address the unique needs of family, caregivers and friends of those who have served or are currently serving our country.

NAMI Homefront Online classes meet weekly in a virtual classroom, so participants experience the same level of interaction and learning as traditional in-person classes.


NAMI NH's Online Groups

NAMI New Hampshire offers four unique online groups - they're places to find peer support, share experiences, offer encouragement, and pass along resources.  These closed Facebook groups require an add from admins - click each link below to learn more and request membership.  

Don't hesitate to contact info@NAMINH.org with any questions. 

Makin' it Happens Online Forum:  I'm okay, are you okay?
Wednesday, April 1st, 3:00 PM
On April 1st, Makin' It Happen will be talking with educator Carol Garhart about "Pandemic Parenting!"  Wondering how to balance homeschooling, working from home, and the warmer weather approaching, with stress, anxiety, and fear?  Every day there is a "new normal" and everyone is feeling the pressure.  There might not be concise answers during a time like this, but you're not alone!  Topics to be discussed:
  • Being okay with "messy"
  • When and how to take breaks
  • Talking to children about their feelings
  • Remembering we are all different
  • Managing and understanding expectations 
You can post your questions and raise your concerns with Carol.  This casual conversation about Pandemic Parenting is sure to be insightful and enlightening.  

Click to join: https://zoom.us/j/137504891  
About Carol Garhart:  Carol Garhart has worked as a preschool teacher and college instructor for over thirty years. She most recently served as the child care services manager at Belknap-Merrimack Head Start and an instructor in early childhood education at Granite State College. She is the author of several books on the subject of early childhood education. 

#MentalHealth Apps

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reviewed several  #mentalhealth  apps for research evidence, personalization, effectiveness, and more. 

Telehealth for Mental Health Professionals

For a limited time, PESI is making their Telehealth for Mental Health Professionals: 2-Day Distance Therapy Training FREE!

(Enter the discount code TELEFREE at checkout - no CC info. required.)

Wellness Breaks for Mental Health Staff

The New England Mental Health Technology Center is now offering virtual Wellness Breaks for all staff involved in providing mental health services in New England.

Wellness Breaks offer a way to connect, decompress, and share resiliency stories and resources in a peer-to-peer format during this pandemic. They will start Wellness Breaks with a short centering activity followed by an open forum for conversation. Sessions will be hosted by the New England Mental Healt h Technology Transfer Center staff members.

Wellness Breaks will be held online three times a week. Each will be 30 minutes in length. Individuals can attend as frequently as they like.

- Mondays from 12:00-12:30pm
- Wednesday from 12:00-12:30pm
- Fridays from 8:00-8:30pm (not a typo, yes, Friday evening)

U se this information to attend:

Development News
Update from the Trail

"My name is Erica (Spitfire), and this year I am taking on the incredible physical challenge of hiking the 7,000 mile Great Western Loop with a team called The Push Beyond. It is our goal to raise money for nonprofit organizations that hold an importance to each hiker on the team. My organization is NAMI New Hampshire. Mental health plays a huge factor in the happiness and well being of our communities, yet many still neglect it. Mental health issues are something we cannot see, and so they often get brushed aside and invalidated, making the problem worse. In my short life, I have had countless friends of all demographics who struggle with mental health. I have worked with teenagers who have attempted suicide. I have fought with my own mind, and often felt like I didn't deserve to be happy. Thankfully, I found thruhiking. In 2017, I hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. It was the hardest thing I'd ever done, but it was also the most valuable. Hiking taught me how to fight for myself, that I deserve every bit of happiness and love that comes my way, that I am worthy. When I hike the Great Western Loop this year, I want to do so in a way that I can help others manage their mental health. There is no better way to do this than by supporting NAMI NH. 100% of donations to this cause will go to NAMI NH so they can further fund programs to support and advocate for those with a mental illness..."

"Greetings from Gila National Park! The Gila Cliff Dwellings mark the end of my short warm up section hike of the Continental Divide Trail. When I come back through on the GWL, I will have completed all of the miles of this 3, 100 mile long trail, in addition to completing the GWL. 
18th Annual NAMIWalks NH
Sunday, October 4, 2020
Concord, NH

Make plans to join us at New Hampshire's largest mental health and suicide prevention event!

Family-friendly, dog-friendly, free, and FUN - we look forward to seeing you at the 18th Annual NAMIWalks NH!

Walk Committee meetings are underway!  If you're interested in volunteering to help plan another record-breaking NAMIWalks NH, please contact Brittany Porter.

Make an Impact
Did you know there are a variety of ways you can make a transformational gift to NAMI New Hampshire?
  • Join the NAMI New Hampshire Legacy Circle by including us in your estate planning, giving a lasting gift to help us continue providing support, education, and advocacy well into the future.
  • Consider giving a gift of stock and potentially avoid paying capital gains tax.  Click here to learn more about the tax benefits of donating stock to a charity.  Instructions for transferring a gift of stock to NAMI NH are available here.
  • If you are age 72 or older, IRS rules require you to take required minimum distributions each year from your tax-deferred retirement accounts.  This additional taxable income may push you into a higher tax bracket, and may also reduce your eligibility for certain tax credits and deductions.  Making a pre-tax charitable donation directly to NAMI NH can eliminate or reduce the impact of this income.
  • Stacking your gift may help you exceed the new standard deduction.  This method of giving allows you to combine several years of charitable contributions in a single year, maximizing your potential tax benefit. 
NAMI New Hampshire was recently honored with a Nonprofit Impact Award from the NH Center for Nonprofits. As the former Executive Director of NAMI NH and a father of a daughter with mental illness, one might think I'm biased when I say that the award was definitely well deserved.  However, it only confirmed our belief that regularly giving to NAMI NH through our retirement program and adding NAMI NH as a beneficiary into our will is the right thing to do.  With our gifts, and those of others, NAMI NH can continue to be good stewards of its resources, putting them to work for individuals and families affected by mental illness and suicide. Giving is an honor, especially when we see that what NAMI NH does works. Yet, they have more to do. Together, our collective resources ensure NH has an accessible, quality mental health and suicide prevention delivery system for Granite Staters.  
~ Michael and Saundy Cohen

For more information, or to discuss additional opportunities, please contact Kristen  or call 603-225-5359 x350.  Sample bequest language is available on our  website .

NAMI NH Corporate Sponsor Partners
NAMI New Hampshire is grateful to our Corporate Sponsors and Members for their steadfast commitment to improving the lives of Granite Staters affected by mental illness and suicide.   #hopestartswithyou

For information on  Corporate Sponsorship, or to discuss additional partnership opportunities, contact Kristen Welch, CFRE, Director of Development, at  kwelch@NAMINH.org or 603.235.5359 x350.

Mark Your Calendar
Me2 Orchestra continues to connect (virtually for now)...

If you are interested in joining, please email Caroline at  info@me2orchestra.org  to receive more information. They'd love to have you check out a rehearsal or just jump right in!

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The preparation of this newsletter was financed under an agreement with the State of New Hampshire, Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health, with funds provided in part or in whole by the State of New Hampshire and/or the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
NAMI NH | 85 N. State St. | 603.225.5359 | info@NAMINH.org | www.NAMINH.org