October 2020/Issue XIII
24/7 Emergency Help Line for Those in Crisis:
The Tragedy of Suicide - a Growing Problem in the Region

2020 has been a difficult year. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in countless ways, and highlighted our differences during an election year.

One trend that the pandemic has exacerbated is the rising rate of suicide in the area. New Hampshire and Vermont have been above the national average for years, but some of the pandemic’s effects - isolation, substance use, and financial stress – are known to increase the risk of suicide. Recently, The Valley News published an article about this unsettling trend, speaking with West Central's Medical Director, Dr. Diane Roston, and the mother of a young man who recently died by suicide.

Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in both Vermont and New Hampshire, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And while the national suicide rate has climbed 35% since 1999 (currently sitting at 14.2 per 100,000), both states now have rates approaching 20 per 100,000. Suicide deaths by people between the ages of 10 and 44, and men who are 65 and over, have driven these increases.

Dr. Roston noted the alarming trend, citing four such deaths this past summer. “There has been a dramatic increase in death by suicide by teenagers and young adults,” said Roston, “even in our community, there have been a number of them just in the last several months.” Given the tight-knit nature of the region, Dr. Roston notes that the losses have likely “touched the lives of most of us.”

How do you know if someone is considering suicide? Sometimes the person may talk about feeling hopeless, seem anxious or withdrawn, exhibit changed sleep patterns, appear unreasonably angry, or mention nobody would miss them if they disappeared. But the only way you really can know is to ask and be prepared to listen. “They need to talk about it,” said Upper Valley resident Dani Sweet, whose son died by suicide shortly before his 23rd birthday. “If we want to prevent it, we have to give them an avenue to" talk about it. And remember, never leave a suicidal person alone - seek immediate, professional help.

The more we talk about suicide openly, with compassion and without judgement, the more we create a safe "space" for people to seek help.
To learn more about the growing problem of suicide in our region, including resources available to help someone considering suicide, read the Full Valley News Article Here.

West Central's 24/7 Emergency Help Line:
Need to talk? West Central can help! Call our Appointment Line:


For a teletherapy or in-person appointment
When Your
Child Struggles....

There are very few things that are harder than watching your child struggle with mental health issues. You feel helpless, anxious, and confused. What can you do?

Be patient. Listen. Communicate. And once your child has a therapist, work with that therapist to help your child get the maximum benefit from treatment.

West Central's Chase Trybulski, Assistant Director of Child Services in Newport, recently wrote an Opinion in the Eagle Times on how to help a child experiencing mental or behavioral health problems. Sometimes behavioral problems are more than just a child being naughty. Read the full article Here.

Teens may require special support at home but, just like younger children, need to feel you are listening. Do your best not to be judgmental, and remember they take cues from you, so be sure they see you taking care of yourself. Some ideas for helping your teen cope can be found Here.

Lastly, remember older children - even when they want to be independent - need your support and encouragement. For those away at college or living on their own, a pandemic only adds to the stress they'll confront as they spread their wings. For some ideas on helping your older child living away from home, ParentingNH has a few tips HERE..

November 3rd

Want information on the positions of presidential candidates?
Click here for a non-partisan, issue-by-issue comparison

Click here to research national and local candidates, and to prepare a sample ballot for yourself before going to the polls
Are you Still Working From Home?
Maybe it's temporary. Maybe it's part-time. Maybe you're finding you need to put in some time in the evening, or you're taking classes online. Whatever the reason, experts agree on one thing - if there's any way to do so, keep your "office" out of your bedroom.

Why is it so important? Because our brains need the transition from "rest" to "work" and back again. Without that, your urge to nap during work hours may only be matched by intrusive thoughts of work as you try to sleep at night. The same goes for attire. While your work-from-home wear can be decidedly more casual than your office clothes, pajamas may sap you of the self-discipline you need to be your most productive.

If you have no choice, make your bed as soon as you get up, and consider some sort of screen to separate your "office."
A New Director for Claremont Substance Use Services

A new Director for our Substance Use Services Clinic in Claremont is the big news of the day. While we will miss Robert Morrell greatly, and wish him the very best as he moves on, we are very lucky to have a highly-qualified new Director in Nick Thelen.

Already a respected colleague at West Central, Nick holds a Master’s in Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counseling, and brings significant substance use services treatment and management experience. His earlier roles as our intake coordinator in the Lebanon Adult program and as a substance use clinician make him a natural fit for the job. Congratulations, Nick!
It's A Match - Double the Impact of Your Gift to West Central
with the
The Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation will match your gift, dollar-for-dollar, doubling the amount you give between now and December 31st. If you are able, please help us reach our goal of $50,000, the maximum total match we can receive. We're almost at the half-way mark!

You can make a one-time credit card gift or a recurring monthly gift to ensure we can pursue our mission to help vulnerable friends and neighbors during this difficult time. Many people, region-wide, are pitching in with gifts of all sizes, and it all adds up.

If you prefer to give by check, please make it payable to "West Central Behavioral Health" and mail it to us at: 9 Hanover Street, Suite 2, Lebanon, NH 03766, Attn: Development Office. Feel free to email Dave Celone at dcelone@wcbh.org with any questions, or to direct your gift to a specific purpose.

October is
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Are You Being Abused?

  • Your partner bullies, threatens, or controls you

  • Your partner controls your money

  • Your partner cuts you off from family and friends

  • Your partner physically abuses you

  • Your partner sexually abuses you
Do You Suspect Someone You Know is Being Abused?

  • Excuses for injuries

  • Personality changes, like low self-esteem in someone who was always confident

  • Constantly checking in with their partner

  • Never having money on hand

  • Overly worried about pleasing their partner

  • Skipping out on work, school, or social outings for no clear reason

  • Wearing clothes that don’t fit the season, like long sleeves in summer to cover
You do not need to be in crisis to call. 24/7 Help is free, confidential, and available to ALL.

The Local Crisis Center for the Upper Valley is WISE
603-448-552 or 866-348-9473. www.wiseuv.org

The Local Crisis Center for Sullivan County is Turning Points. 800-639-3130 www.turningpointsnetwork.org

NH Statewide Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-277-5570

NH Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-866-644-3574
Three Cheers for Our West Central Colleagues!!!

Quarterly Recognition Awards have been announced, and are well deserved. Jessica Clow, our Case Manager for the Bridges Program (pictured, left), was one recipient. Her nomination read, in part, "I have found her to be so dedicated and a great team communicator, she helps case managers and therapists establish a basic need that is a great starting point for wellbeing and mental health. Jessica deserves this recognition."

Other Award Recipients Include:

Tina Champney, Residential Specialist, ArborView "Tina goes above and beyond to make our workplace a joyful experience"

Deborah Walker, Case Manager "making sure that at-risk clients had access to food during increased isolation and fear of viral exposure."

Support Staff (all locations), "ensuring, without complaint, that the functions of their jobs ran smoothly, calls were answered, and requests from doctors and staff were handled, even as their colleagues were able to work from home."

We're So Proud to Be on Your Team!!!
We're Open...
To make an appointment call us at: (603) 542-5128
In-Person and Teletherapy Visits Available
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This newsletter is sent monthly to all West Central staff, Board and Committee members, and our many friends and supporters with heartfelt thanks. Please share it with your friends and family so people remember our name and the work we do as this region's community mental health and
substance use center.

When people in need know who we are,
they'll contact us when they need help.
(for past newsletters click here)

Nurturing Dreams...Transforming Lives...
West Central Behavioral Health serves clients in the Upper Valley and Sullivan County, and has offices in Lebanon, Claremont, and Newport, NH.
WCBH is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization.