Who do we serve?

Riverbend Community Mental Health serves children, adults, families and elders as well as health care professionals, community organizations and employers in Merrimack County and surrounding communities.

What communities do we serve?

Riverbend Community Mental Health primarily serves people who live in the New Hampshire communities of Allenstown, Andover, Boscawen, Bow, Bradford, Canterbury, Chichester, Concord, Danbury, Deering, Dunbarton, Epsom, Franklin, Henniker, Hill, Hillsborough, Hopkinton, Loudon, Newbury, New London, Northfield, Pembroke, Pittsfield, Salisbury, Sutton, Warner, Weare, Wilmot, Webster and Windsor.

How many people does Riverbend serve?

Last year, Riverbend’s 280 employees served more than 7000 people, including 1,600 children, helping individuals and families to live healthy, productive lives and foster independent living for adults with serious mental illness.

Riverbend serves many of the Merrimack County region’s most vulnerable residents. 85% of Riverbend’s clients have annual incomes less than $20,000, and many have limited ability to pay.

Riverbend’s programs and services provided more than $2.1 million in free or discounted care to members of the community during Fiscal Year 2004. Riverbend sets priorities for its activities through a variety of planning efforts that involve the people we serve and our community at large. For more information about Riverbend’s planning activities, please contact Susan Cummings at scummings@riverbendcmhc.org.

Is Riverbend not-for-profit?

Yes. Riverbend Community Mental Health is a private, not-for-profit organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Directors are chosen for their expertise, community leadership and interest in mental health.

What are behavioral disorders?

The term “behavioral disorder” is frequently used in place of the term “mental illness,” because it is both more accurate and less emotionally charged. Unfortunately, some people still associate “mental illness” with old myths and stereotypes. Behavioral disorders are a combination of mental, nervous and psychological ailments that can include:

  • Major depression — severe and continuous feelings of sadness that may result in decreased activity, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and senses of guilt and hopelessness
  • Panic disorders — sudden, intense and overwhelming fear for no apparent reason
  • Bi-polar disorder — fluctuating episodes of extreme depression and mania
  • Schizophrenia — one of the most serious and disabling of mental disorders, its symptoms include confused thoughts, communication problems and sudden mood swings
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders — continuous interruption by unwanted thoughts and the constant performing of specific actions
  • Alcohol and other drug disorders — the ingestion, injection or inhalation of chemical substances that affect both physical and behavioral functions and that can become addictive over time.

How many people are affected by behavioral disorders?

Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people. Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion — about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 — who suffer from a serious mental illness. According to the National Institute of Mental Health:

  • Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15-44.
  • While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5 *Major depressive disorder is more prevalent in women than in men.
  • In 2004, 32,439 (approximately 11 per 100,000) people died by suicide in the U.S.
  • More than 90 percent of people who kill themselves have a diagnosable mental disorder, most commonly a depressive disorder or a substance abuse disorder.
  • The highest suicide rates in the U.S. are found in white men over age 85.
  • Four times as many men as women die by suicide; however, women attempt suicide two to three times as often as men.
  • Approximately 2.4 million American adults, or about 1.1 percent of the population age 18 and older in a given year, have schizophrenia.
  • Schizophrenia affects men and women with equal frequency.
  • Schizophrenia often first appears in men in their late teens or early twenties. In contrast, women are generally affected in their twenties or early thirties.
  • Approximately 7.7 million American adults age 18 and older, or about 3.5 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

What are some of the myths?

Mental health care is not what it was 50 years ago, and not what is often depicted in the movies and on television. Here are a few old myths with corrected facts:

Myth #1: A small minority of people need mental health services

Fact: Almost half of all Americans (48%) between the ages of 15 and 84 have a lifetime history of at least one mental or addictive disorder during their lifetime.

Myth #2: Mental illness is not a true physical disease

Fact: Research has shown conclusively that behavioral health problems are rooted in the brain’s chemistry.

Myth #3: People with mental illness are dangerous

Fact: People with a behavioral health diagnosis are rarely dangerous to others. However, they are more likely to be dangerous to themselves.

Myth #4: Psychiatric hospitals are institutions where people can be committed for life

Fact: Today, the average stay at most psychiatric hospitals is less than one week. At New Hampshire Hospital, only a few patients remain hospitalized for a long period of time. Riverbend’s focus is on helping consumers live safely and productively in their own communities.

Myth #5: Psychotherapy is a long-term process of self-examination

Fact: Riverbend’s counseling services are mostly short term and focused on education and problem solving.

Myth #6: Mental health centers are fully funded by state and federal governments

Fact: Only 6% of Riverbend’s funding comes from state and federal grants. Approximately 82% comes from private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare and client fees. The remaining 12% is earned through miscellaneous contracts and fundraising from individuals, corporations and foundations.

What is meant by Riverbend's "community involvement"?

Mental health care works best when it’s part of a community-wide effort to help people maximize their health and productivity, while maintaining community safety and quality of life. Through open communication, mutual referral and joint problem solving, Riverbend Community Mental Health works with other health and human service providers and community organizations throughout the region.

By working together, we avoid duplication, improve access and create true continuity of care.

By communicating with other organizations, and with each consumer of our services, we strive to meet the needs of the whole person.

By joining forces, we can secure the financial resources to pay for a quality health care system.

Why does Riverbend work with other organizations and providers?

Riverbend works together with a wide range of community organizations and task forces to:

  • Improve consumer access to health related services
  • Create new programs to meet unmet community needs
  • Coordinate care for people who need multiple services
  • Support children and their families
  • Improve the health and well-being of elders
  • Improve employee health and productivity
  • Enhance public safety

Who does Riverbend work with?

Riverbend Community Mental Health works with many community organizations to improve the health and quality of life of our citizenry. These relationships range from formal partnerships to task forces and informal alliances. Examples of alliances and organizations we work with include:

  • Capital Region Family Health Center
  • Child & Family Services
  • Children’s WrapAround Team
  • City of Concord Welfare Office
  • Community Bridges
  • Community Provider Network of Central NH
  • Concord Hospital
  • Concord Area Transportation
  • Concord School District
  • Concord Police Department
  • Concord Dental Coalition
  • Concord Regional Visiting Nurses Association
  • Domestic Violence Coalition
  • Elders WrapAround Team
  • Franklin Hospital
  • Franklin School District
  • Friends Program
  • Henniker School District
  • Hillsborough Office of Youth Services
  • Merrimack Valley AIDS Project
  • New England College
  • New Hampshire Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center
  • New Hampshire Hospital
  • New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority
  • New London Hospital
  • Police Court Liaison Committee

What other community involvement exists?

Riverbend Community Mental Health employees are actively involved in the communities where they live and work. Our staff and Board of Directors have volunteered for many organizations, including:

  • Capital Region Food Program
  • Caring Community of Twin Rivers
  • Community Provider Network of Central New Hampshire
  • Franklin Community Service Corp
  • Franklin Zoning Board
  • The Friendly Kitchen
  • Girls & Boys Club of Concord
  • Granite United Way
  • Health First
  • Health Needs Assessment for Concord
  • Meredith Youth Sports
  • Merrimack County Juvenile Diversion Court
  • Merrimack County Nursing Home
  • Monadnock United Way
  • Nite Owl Consumer Group
  • Options Unlimited Vocational Services
  • Public Utilities Commission Office of the Consumer Advocate
  • Sandcastle Productions Community Theater

How can I learn more?

On the Internet: Please visit our Online Behavioral Health Resources page for a list of reliable mental health sites.

In the community: Contact the New Hampshire Alliance for the Mentally Ill: 1-800-242-6264.