May 2021/Issue XX
24/7 Crisis Services
Psst...May is National Mental Health Awareness Month!

It's no secret,
we're serious about eliminating the stigma of talking openly about mental illness and substance use disorders. In our region of the Upper Valley and Sullivan County, we're a tight-knit group who share common bonds. 1 in 5 people will experience mental illness this year, and 5 of 5 will experience mental health issues at some point in their lives. We're all in this together. What better way than to use art as the medium to convey the importance of speaking candidly and passionately about the fact that mental health is important to all of us.

Our collaboration with the AVA Gallery & Art Center has brought to life a new art exhibition, Tethered by Light. It can be seen in the Carter Kelsey Gallery lobby throughout the month of May. Click Here for exhibition details. Twenty-five local artists have submitted their work, curated by AVA's exhibition manager, Samantha Eckert, who is an artist herself and has a piece in the show!

Our collaborative effort with AVA Gallery expresses two, local non-profit organizations' shared beliefs in the power of therapy as a tool to overcome mental illness. As well as the need to normalize the conversation about mental illness so everyone feels comfortable reaching out for help when feelings of depression, anxiety, or hopelessness arise.

With thanks to AVA Gallery, exhibition sponsors, and all participating artists whose works my be seen online by Clicking Here.
Above photo credit: Samantha Weibkin, Pandemic Self-Portrait, gouache, cotton fabric, embroidery floss and ribbon.
Here's an easy "to do" for you...
Ask a friend or a family member how they feel today. Letting them know it's Mental Health Awareness Month. Then listen with care. It'll be a great start to the month of May! And you'll develop your EQ (Emotional Quotient), or emotional intelligence, which is your ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.

And while we're at it...

You Are Most
Cordially Invited!

To join us on May 15th,
at 4 pm for a talk at AVA's Carter Kelsey Gallery, 11 Bank Street in Lebanon, NH on the topics of art, art therapy, and mental illness during COVID-19 by two local therapists. A reception will follow at 5 pm. Plus you can view the Tethered by Light art exhibition in advance of the talk to make your day complete. Just wander into AVA's Carter Kelsey Gallery lobby space wearing your mask!

This will be a hybrid talk, available via livestreamed video on Zoom, as well as in-person at the AVA Gallery. Most people will watch from a tent next to the gallery on a large screen due to the need to keep everyone six feet apart. Please join us in person or online if you can! The livestream Zoom link is available by Clicking Here, or on our Facebook events page where you can register to join us on May 15th by Clicking Here.

The talk will be presented by Anna West, MA, LCMHC of West Central Behavioral Health and Julie Puttgen, MFA, MA, CHMC of the Center for Integrative Health as a conversation about art, art therapy, and mental illness during the pandemic.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to our several sponsors of this exhibition who include: The Couch Family Foundation, Geokon, The Mt. Roeschmore Foundation, Doug & Leslie Williamson, and two Anonymous donors.

Above photo credit: Julie Puttgen, Ratna Gaze, digital photo on aluminum
Need to set up your first appointment? Call our 'New Client'
Appointment Line

Teletherapy and in-person appointments
We Are Thrilled to Announce...

Jill Bemis, Sr. Team Leader of our Child Services program in Claremont has received the Unsung Heroes Award from the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) at the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Jill has dedicated herself to her work at West Central for the past 22 years. Congratulations, Jill!
One quote from our Facebook post about Jill rings true:
"Well deserved, Jill. The world is a better place because of you!"
One More Event for May...

Orchestrating Change is an orchestra comprised of musicians living with mental illness. It's also a film that our fellow community mental health clinics in NH will be showing on May 13th at 6 pm. It's free to watch online at This Link. Registration is required. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for the registration link.)

And enjoy the show!

Here at West Central...
we're continuing our efforts to get staff fully vaccinated to help protect our clients and ourselves. We're also gearing up to reconvene group therapy, with air purifiers and CO2 detectors to ensure the indoor air quality at our clinics in Claremont, Lebanon, and Newport is safe. We still require masks at all our locations.
2021 Fred Hesch Award
This year's Fred Hesch Award goes to...drum roll please...our IT director, Shawn Cornell. It is awarded to the West Central employee who best embraces Fred’s commitment to serving West Central’s mission as a community mental health care provider through Excellence in Performance, Mission-Focused Accomplishments, Personal Accomplishments, and Agency Focused Commitments.

Shawn and his team saw us through COVID-19 and propelled us not just into the world of telehealth through superhuman efforts and rolling out dozens of new laptops generously donated by The Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, but also moved us to an integrated electronic healthcare record (EHR) system in record time. Thank you, and congratulations, Shawn! Click Here for more information about all the awards we present annually.

In the News
Roger Osmun, our CEO & President recently wrote an opinion piece carried by several NH newspapers including the Concord Monitor, the Seacoast Online, the Eagle Times,, and the NH Business Review. Thousands have now read his erspective on why HB 544, the "propagation of divisive concepts" legislation, is wrong for NH. Click Here to read Roger's opinion piece.

We're hiring! Positions available include Peer Support Specialists, Team Leaders, Clinical Secretaries, Residential Specialists, Mental Health Therapists, Adult & Child Case Managers, and more. If you have an interest in helping others who truly need help, there's no more gratifying work than in community behavioral health. Please visit our Careers web page at this Link.

A word from the CDC...
For the latest CDC COVID-19 information, Click Here to learn about choosing safer activities, what you can do once fully vaccinated, guidance for youth & summer camps, and more.

Follow and Like us on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook!

The Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation helped equip us with new laptop technology so we could deliver teletherapy to our clients during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Thank you!
Do you appreciate what we're doing for our community? If you're reading this and are able to make a gift to us, please do. We're a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) non-profit. During May, your gift will be directed to patient financial aid, to help our friends and neighbors in the greatest of need. We extended nearly $600,000 in charitable care last year thanks to people like you. Your gift is tax deductible as allowed by law. No gift is too small, and we accept monthly recurring contributions on our giving webpage. Gifts of any size - $5 or $10/month - make a difference to help us save lives.
Thank you.
With our abiding thanks to AVA Gallery and Arts Center for collaborating with us to help reduce the stigma of mental illness during Mental Health Awareness Month 2021.
Share This Newsletter...You Might Save a Life
This newsletter is sent monthly to all West Central staff, Board & Committee members, and our many friends and supporters. 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 disorder center.

When people in need know who we are,
they'll contact us before a crisis occurs.

To Sign Up For West Central News Click Here
(for past newsletters click here)
24/7 Crisis Services
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.
We are a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.