Enormous step forward for those with mental illness

For many years, mental illness has been a silent epidemic, fought by families and caregivers under the stigma of an issue that shouldn’t be discussed. Not anymore. I applaud Gov. Maggie Hassan for highlighting the issue in her State of the State address. The governor recognizes the pressing need for new resources to address some of the shortfalls in services for this vulnerable population.

The governor rightfully understands the crisis in mental health must be addressed on many fronts:

∎ Community-based services must be appropriately funded.

∎ Services must be evidence-based and measured in terms of recovery.

∎ Resources must be made available to erase the stigma of mental health diseases.

Those struggling with mental illness often are fighting addiction as well. Most studies show that 60 percent of those with mental illness have co-occurring substance misuse and addiction challenges. Medicaid expansion is a giant step toward confronting this dual diagnosis problem. For the first time, New Hampshire will be able to provide preventative treatments for those who struggle with addiction.

Riverbend acknowledges the tremendous achievement of collaboration in an agreement to pass Medicaid expansion. We thank lawmakers from both sides for their willingness to compromise on a plan that will benefit thousands of citizens.

As Riverbend celebrates its 50th anniversary, I can think of no better gift from state leaders than a rededication to those facing mental health challenges. We look forward to playing an active role in the recovery and wellness of the citizenry of New Hampshire.

Peter Evers, President and CEO