"Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion…If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.”
~ William Faulkner
Mental health services are cornerstone to a healthy community. Access to affordable mental health care reduces the burden on our police and fire departments, hospitals, corrections systems and town welfare offices. Genesis Behavioral Health’s role is to ensure our patients are healthy, functioning participants in their community, contributing to our region’s overall wellness. Consider the following stories from real patients of the community mental health centers in New Hampshire:
- We serve a 69-year-old divorced woman living alone in an apartment on $900 per month. She has a long history of psychiatric hospitalizations when she enters in a manic phase of her bipolar disorder but has been able to remain out of the hospital for the past 3 years because she now has the supports she needs to manage her symptoms with medication and therapy. Her therapy has helped her remain in her community. She volunteers 3 days a week for a non-profit organization that helps the needy. She is valued and productive.
- We serve a 5-year-old male who was sexually abused by a family friend. He developed mental health symptoms in response to this abuse. These symptoms were so severe that he was expelled from day care and Head Start. With intensive mental health treatment and ongoing supports, he has been able to return to kindergarten. What would happen to this child if mental health supports were not available? Would special education costs be increased in later years? Would his untreated symptoms lead to substance abuse and even jail as he grows up?
How much money would the consequences of no treatment cost?
- Bill is a 60-year-old man who suffered his first schizophrenic episode 35 years ago. He suddenly became very paranoid and began hallucinating. He was convinced that a demon was lodged in his chest and he sliced a 12-inch incision in his throat to allow the demon to escape. He narrowly missed major blood vessels and was lucky to survive. He responded well at New Hampshire Hospital and has worked closely and effectively with community mental health center staff ever since. He has been stable, is able to work and maintains a family life. Bill suffers relapses without warning and immediate access to care is vital.
The road ahead is uncertain. Advocacy is critical if we are to protect the services that so many of our neighbors need. Over the years, Genesis Behavioral Health and the other community mental health centers have endured rate reductions and service limitations, all the while continuing to provide the programs and services our community relies upon. The need for services continues to increase as our resources decrease. The support of our patients, our stakeholders and our community is essential to preserve these services as we know them today.
You can make a difference. Now is the time to speak out and make your voice heard. Write to your Representatives. Call your Senator. Tell your story—and let them know how important mental health services are to you, your loved ones and your community.
For a link to the directory of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, click here:
For a link to the directory of the New Hampshire Senate, click here:
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