The Bulletin Board

Council unanimously approves $52.4 million for community mental health centers

By: - June 30, 2021 5:58 pm
The state house as viewed through a stone arch

Supporters of the bill had portrayed it as a means to increase housing stock in towns and cities without large apartment complexes that tend to draw controversy. (Dave Cummings | New Hampshire Bulletin)

New Hampshire’s Executive Council gave a green light to a broad expansion of the state’s community mental health centers Wednesday, finalizing a proposal that advocates have called “transformational.”

In a unanimous vote, councilors voted to devote $52.4 million in state and federal funds toward building out the 10 centers, which provide mental health services to low-income residents across the state.

The additional funding will allow the centers to expand their funding and build up mobile crisis response teams, which allow mental health professionals to respond to emergencies at home without the involvement of police or hospitals. The new services are expected to help 43,000 adults and children in the state, according to Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette. 

The funds will essentially double the state’s annual allocation to each of the mental health centers, which include Monadnock Family Services in Keene, Riverbend Community Mental Health in Concord, the Seacoast Mental Health Center, the Lakes Region Mental Health Center, and others. 

But the efforts to scale up services at those centers could face familiar challenges, from staff recruitment to historical difficulties finding partners for the mobile crisis units. 

Ninety percent of the additional funds would come from state general funds, with 10 percent picked up by the federal government.

The contracts passed Wednesday without discussion. 

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Ethan DeWitt
Ethan DeWitt

Ethan DeWitt is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s education reporter. Previously, he worked as the New Hampshire State House reporter for the Concord Monitor, covering the state, the Legislature, and the New Hampshire presidential primary. A Westmoreland native, Ethan started his career as the politics and health care reporter at the Keene Sentinel.