Solutions from the Frontlines:

A community behavioral health conversation

On May 22, GSNC hosted its first community engagement event Solutions From the Frontlines: A community behavioral health conversation.The aim was to put the people who use the mental health and treatment systems in New Hampshire in the same room with journalists and policy and law makers. The goal was for this conversation to be an opportunity for people who don’t usually get to have a say, to be heard by the people with the power to effect change, even if it’s small, in their lives.

The night included stories from people who faced the challenges mental illness and substance use disorders and their journey to find solutions.

The event also featured a panel of practitioners and officials on the frontlines of these dual crises.

"People want to talk about it...We let stigma be a barrier to getting help." Roger Carroll, Managing Editor of the Laconia Daily Sun speaks about his journey through NH’s mental health system and determining to do his part to dispel the stigma around mental illness by talking about it.

"We felt helpless. ...What else could we have done?" Paula Holigan, speaking of how it feels to be a first responder called to the scene of another overdose death. Instead of giving in to that feeling, Holigan and her team at the NH Division of EMS Fire Standards and Training created a mobile safe station program to get people connected on the spot to services and ongoing help. Watch Holigan talk about how they got there.

"I am alive and healthy because of harm reduction. Nalaxone saved my life. Alternative Sentencing saved my life. Access to sterile syringes--Keeping people alive is the only metric that matters. Dead people don't enter recovery," watch Ryan Fowler recovery specialist at  Granite Pathways discuss harm reduction  and finding new spokespeople and ways to talk about recovery.

“ So my challenge to you: What will you do to create a work culture that validates self care?" Angela Thomas Jones, North Country Taskforce: Wellness & Resilience in the Face of Addiction. After years of watching her colleagues suffer the consequences of compassion fatigue to the point of feeling suicidal and ultimately leaving the profession and after experience this herself, Jones decided to take action.

"Why be ashamed when everyone is going through something similar? Erasing the stigma will be hard, but it is possible." Watch Pennichuck Middle School's Mia Flegal discuss anxiety and her solutions 

“Keep your passion local, & bring it to Concord-hold us in the legislature accountable,” NH Sen. Tom Sherman, one of a panel that included Tym Rourke, Tym Rourke, Director of New Hampshire Tomorrow, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation; Sheelu Joshi Flegal, Soughegan High School Counselor; and, Peter Evers, CEO of Riverbend. Watch the discussion of solutions to the state’s seemingly most intractable problems.