New Hampshire’s citizens have recognized the seriousness of the dual mental health and opioid crises.
However New Hampshire residents are less aware of the relationship among the factors that contribute to and signal behavioral health problems, and the role of social stigma and internalized shame on the likelihood of seeking and receiving help.
Committed to leveraging their respective strengths and resources to cover the state’s most critical issue, the founding members of the Granite State News Collaborative considered many options for its first project but returned time and again to the one that dominates conversations in every corner of the state: behavioral health.
It is a complex issue that connects addiction, social isolation, dislocation resulting from economic change, the out-migration of youth, and marginalization. It spans all populations and areas, rural and urban, and has relevance for all kinds of media and audiences, broad and narrow.
In its inaugural project, Granite Solutions, the Granite State News Collaborative will focus its collective resources on in-depth, evidence-based reporting on behavioral health in an effort to bring new depth, life and understanding to this issue.
Using a Solutions Journalism Model we will be asking questions and telling stories—with equal rigor--about the challenges, what’s working and what’s not and the responses of every day granite staters striving to solve these problems.
The tandem mental health and opioid crises in New Hampshire has cast a shadow over our state. We aim to be a light.
The Granite State News Collaborative seeks to bring an integrated and statewide focus to this constellation of issues -- and it will hold the government accountable for responsiveness to all parts of the state, and all populations, while also identifying local aspects and solutions that may be relevant and unknown elsewhere.
We believe a collaboration between these partner organizations across platforms, audiences and sizes will strengthen the local and regional media’s capacity to detect those trends and surface opportunities for action.
Through coordinated reporting and engagement, the Granite State News Collaborative will leverage their individual efforts to explore promising strategies for enhancing government responsiveness and reorienting the way the public understands and responds to these issues.
Additionally, reporting and short-form video produced by high school and college-age journalists with the participants in youth engagement activities will challenge stereotypes about behavioral health, and reveal the real-life impact.
Granite Solutions Project
While it is important to understand how NH arrived at the top of such state rankings of opioid deaths per capita or rate of youth substance abuse or suicide, the Granite State News Collaborative recognizes the urgency of facilitating an informed statewide conversation about what can be done. Collaborative members will investigate and highlight emerging responses —both local and out-of-state. This solutions reporting will focus on the role that individuals and communities themselves, and state and local government officials and agencies, can play in reducing the incidence and mitigating the impact of social isolation,substance misuse, and other aspects of behavioral health.
Souhegan HiGh school Project
Journalism Students at Souhegan High School in Amherst will be part of GSNC’s pilot engagement program aimed at amplifying youth voices and perspectives on behavioral health while at the same time training the next generation of journalists.
Community engagement projects
Using The Collaborative’s reporting as a starting point, GSNC will host regular events aimed at furthering conversations spurred by topics covered by the collaborative and as a way of exploring voices and points of view that may otherwise go unnoticed.