July/August Newsletter
Record Number of Magnify Voices Submissions
Held during National Mental Health Awareness Month, CSoC showcased and recognized youth in fifth through 12th grade at the Fifth Annual Magnify Voices Expressive Art Contest celebration. A record number of entries from 61 youth artists across New Hampshire were featured at the event on May 24 at Plymouth State University’s Silver Center for the Arts showcasing artwork and stories portraying their personal struggles with mental health conditions.

NH CSoC created the Magnify Voices contest in 2019 to highlight the inadequacies in the system that serves Granite State youth and their families by raising awareness, effectuating change and erasing stigma around mental illness.
2023 NAMI NH Youth Leadership Award
Erin Murphy and her cousin Amy were voted the Magnify Voices People's Choice Award Winner in 2021 for their video submission “Dear Younger Me.” Since then, Erin has continued to be a champion for reducing stigma and raising awareness of the challenges today’s youth face with mental health. 

She credits Magnify Voices with giving her a voice and igniting her passion for sharing her story of recovery to help others, but what really happened as a result of the contest is that people throughout the state learned what an amazing individual and youth leader Erin truly is. She is passionate about reducing stigma and raising awareness of youth struggles with mental health. She is passionate about teaching folks of all ages to reach out to people they know and ask them if they are okay – and if they are not okay, she wants to find a way to get them help and give them hope for a better tomorrow. Erin’s leadership has inspired a new generation of advocates and has given youth mental health a voice. She was given the 2023 NAMI New Hampshire Youth Leadership Award, pictured left along with Susan Stearns, executive director of NAM NH.
2023 Legislative Wrap Up
Advocacy for children was a key focus for CSoC partners this legislative session. Early in the session, child advocacy partners were successful in postponing the closure date of the Sununu Youth Services Center, and later in outlining the parameters and securing the funding for a replacement facility providing care and services that are evidence-based and trauma informed. Collective advocacy in this space also resulted in the prohibition of the use of the prone restraint and the use of seclusion as a punishment for minors.

Further, the NH State Budget includes funding for NH’s Multi-Tiered System of Support for Behavioral Health and Wellness Model (MTSS-B) and provides a network of early childhood behavioral health supports.

Finally, working alongside a broad coalition of partners, advocates were successful in defeating a number of bills that could have jeopardized the health and wellness of LGBTQ+ young people.

Unfortunately, bills that would have expanded minors’ access to mental health treatment without parental consent, mandated mental health education in schools, and allowed for excused absences for mental and behavioral health issues, were unsuccessful this session. 
Anxious Nation Returns to NH Communities This Fall
CSoC partners, NAMI New Hampshire and the state’s 10 Community Mental Health Centers, partnered to bring 14 screenings of the documentary Anxious Nation to communities statewide. In May and June, more than 700 people attended the free screenings which were made possible through the support of the Endowment for Health and New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

Anxious Nation explores and captures the many faces and facets of anxiety. This feature-length documentary takes a deep look into the crisis of anxiety and mental health in America, especially its impact on youth (ages 10-26) and families.

Anxious Nation will return this fall for six additional screenings at a variety of venues across New Hampshire which will soon be announced. Open to the public, events will feature a free documentary screening, panel discussion with professionals and those with lived experiences, and access to mental health and suicide prevention resources. The participation of local Community Mental Health Centers helps to ensure a safe and supportive environment for each event.
Q&A with CSoC's Behavioral Health Equity Workgroup

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is observed each July to bring awareness to the unique struggles that racial and ethnic communities face regarding mental illness in the United States.
In 2014, CSoC established the Behavioral Health Equity Workgroup (BHEWG) to identify disparities, improve equity in access, and promote the use of culturally relevant and meaningful behavioral health services that will create an effective and high-quality behavioral health system for all. The BHEWG is comprised of members from both the public and private sectors, who have an interest in improving behavioral health services for all NH residents.

Hear from Biram Saidybah, BHEWG facilitator and Program Specialist IV/Behavioral Health Cultural & Linguistic Competence Coordinator at the Office of Healthy Equity, on BHEWG committee work:

What kind of work does BHEWG do?
We are passionate about providing DEI audits, CLAS Standards Audits and Health Equity audits and continuing to explore how people are accessing behavioral health.

What makes the BHEWG so impactful?
This workgroup brings different stakeholders together to brainstorm ideas that benefit our communities and those who are underserved. Creating a safe environment for people to express their views and concerns is important to our success. 

Can you talk about a successful initiative of the BHEWG?
We created a series of "We Are Here" videos that focus on four key areas: community access, behavioral health access, cultural access and linguistic access. Developed in partnership with the University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability through grant funding from the Endowment for Health, these videos are a great example of the collaboration that is possible through CSoC.

What if someone is interested in joining the workgroup? 
The BHEWG is a safe and open forum for anyone who has ideas and concerns around access to behavioral and mental health. We encourage organizations that focus on minority health to share experiences and ideas from the challenges they are facing with LGBTQIA+, DEI, Educators, Mental and Behavioral Health workers with us.
Children's System of Care | NHCSoC.org