Leading Stories, Articles

June 26th, 2021

Advocates, legislators address children’s mental health crisis

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The true toll of this pandemic on the mental health of children and adolescents may take decades to fully understand. Young people can be resilient but the academic and social milestones missed may have repercussions across their lifespans that are not yet visible.

With more acute issues of mental health, the effects are being felt in the here and now. Across the United States, mental health-related visits to emergency rooms rose 24 percent for children ages 5-11 and 31 percent for adolescents 12-17 in 2020, as compared with 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control.…

April 13th, 2021

Drug overdoses rise but NH’s death rate dips slightly

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused more than half a million deaths in the United States. Sadly, those direct results of the virus may not tell the whole story.

Across the United States, drug overdose deaths increased nearly 20 percent in the 12-month period ending last June, with a noticeable spike occurring during the early months of the Covid-19 shutdown.

These figures, provided by the Centers for Disease Control, represented the highest number of fatal overdoses ever recorded in the U.S. in a single year.

Throughout New England, the rates of death have seen an increase in the past year in every state except for one.…

April 13th, 2021

Providers object to bill removing audio-only option

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In July of 2020, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill into law that required insurance companies to cover telemedicine at equal rates to in-person treatment.

The move was lauded by both health care and mental health care professionals as a positive step toward expanding services, especially in remote areas where access may be more limited.

This year, one of that bill’s original sponsors, Jess Edwards (R-Rockingham 4), joined forces with two other Republican representatives to sponsor a bill that will remove the parity and audio-only pieces of the 2020 law.…

October 21st, 2020

LifeSet Program prepares often troubled youth for successful lives

By New England Psychologist Staff

The Youth Villages LifeSet Program, designed to help young people aging out of foster care or juvenile justice custody, has proven a success, according to officials with the program in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

“Our LifeSet program is the bridge to successful adulthood,” said Lori Sustek, state director in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

She explained that LifeSet is a comprehensive program that works with young adults from the ages of 17.5 to 22 “to help them achieve their goals in education, housing, employment, and basic independent living skills.”

Participants work one on one with a LifeSet specialist, who meets with them one or two times per week to help the young adults identify and achieve their goals of ultimately living independently and successfully, she said.…

October 6th, 2020

Crotched Mountain’s November closure is stopped

By Eileen Weber

After almost 70 years, Crotched Mountain Foundation, a rehabilitation center for young children to adults with developmental and behavioral disabilities in Greenfield, NH, was set to close its doors on November 1.

After months of scrambling to find suitable options for students and group home residents, it was announced that New York-based Gersh Autism will take over on the previously determined closing date.

President and CEO Ned Olney noted in a statement that the school struggled financially for years, especially during the economic downturn in 2009. With the onset of the coronavirus and subsequent lockdown, the school suspended services with Ready Set Connect, a non-profit organization for autistic children that works in conjunction with Crotched Mountain.…

April 18th, 2020

Psychologist focuses on treating adversity in children

By Catherine Robertson Souter

 Jenessa Deleault Psy.D.The first years of a person’s life form the foundation for everything to follow. Those years of early childhood development can set the stage for later mental health and well-being or, unfortunately, the opposite.

For clinical psychologist Jenessa Deleault Psy.D., working with children is more than a career, it is a calling, one that spoke to her from an early age when she worked for her mother’s daycare center.

Trained in empirically-supported Child Parent Psychology (CPP), she currently works with Counseling Associates of MA and NH in their Bedford, NH, office where she specializes in children from birth to age six and childhood trauma.…

February 4th, 2020

Opioid crisis escalates need for foster care

By Eileen Weber

It’s no secret that the opioid crisis has taken a toll in this country. But according to the CDC’s National Center for Health statistics, the New England states have been hit hardest. Fentanyl was the leading cause of overdose deaths in the country in 2017. In New England alone, there were 22.5 fentanyl overdoses per 100,000 people. And of the New England states, New Hampshire has one of the highest rates of opioid-related overdose deaths nation-wide.

But those suffering from addiction aren’t the only ones impacted; so are their children. More than 400,000 kids in the United States are in foster care at any given point.

January 5th, 2020

Hearing raises issue of parity, insurance rates

By Catherine Robertson Souter

parity healthcare costsAs required by state law, the New Hampshire Insurance Department (NHID) hosts a public hearing each year to talk about health care costs and trends. The 2019 hearing, held in October, focused on the number of residents covered by insurance and the state’s progress on mental health parity.

Eireann Sibley NHID communications director noted that the hearings are for the public and regular attendees include insurance company representatives, providers, academics, health care advocates, and legislators.

According to published reports culled from data submitted by health insurance companies, the uninsured rate in New Hampshire did not change drastically in 2018 from the previous year and it remains lower than the national average at 5.7 percent.…

November 4th, 2019

ACLU-NH lawsuit seeks due process for ER patients waiting for beds

By Catherine Robertson Souter

According to state law in New Hampshire, individuals held against their will because of a mental health crisis must be provided a hearing before a judge to determine if they present a risk to others or themselves. That hearing must happen within three days of the signing of an Involuntary Emergency Admission.

However, because of a shortage of beds in the state’s psychiatric care facilities, people are often held in emergency rooms until a space opens up. And the mandated hearings are only offered at psychiatric facilities.

The result is that some patients are being held, against their will, in emergency rooms without a hearing.…

August 26th, 2019

New Hampshire expands MAT program

By Phyllis Hanlon

MATS Medication Assisted TreatmentSince 2015, the New Hampshire Department of Corrections (NHDOC) has had a Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) program in place in its facilities to help those with substance and alcohol use problems maintain abstinence. The success of that program, as well as others in New England, prompted the department to expand its existing coverage.

Laura Montenegro, NHDOC’s public information officer, explained that the expansion of the MAT program kicked off in June at the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility (NNHCF) in Berlin and will expand to two other facilities in the near future.…