For Immediate Release
October 23, 2013
CONCORD - As part of ongoing efforts to strengthen New Hampshire's strained mental health system, Governor Maggie Hassan, Education Commissioner Virginia Barry and Health and Human Services Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas announced today that New Hampshire will receive an $8.6 million federal grant for three school districts to improve behavioral health services for children.
State officials expect that as many as 10,000 children will benefit from the effort over the next four years.
The majority of the funds, awarded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), will go directly to the Concord, Laconia, and Rochester school districts, which joined with community partners, DOE and DHHS to apply for the four-year grant.
"Ensuring that Granite Staters of all ages have access to appropriate mental health support is essential to the well-being of our families and communities," Governor Hassan said. "Our school districts and community partners play critical roles in supporting New Hampshire's students and their families. This grant will support our efforts to improve and better coordinate our mental healthcare system in communities across New Hampshire."
The goal of the new initiative is to increase the number of New Hampshire children and youth who have access to behavioral health services, decrease the number of students who abuse substances, increase the capacity of community agencies to provide early childhood development services, improve school climate and reduce the number of children who are exposed to violence.
"By providing prevention, early intervention, and intensive, evidence-based behavioral health services, we will be able to provide supports to 2,500 children, youth and their families per year, and 10,000 over four years," Commissioner Barry said.
"I am pleased to have the opportunity to continue our statewide work towards ensuring New Hampshire residents have access to the support they need to live the fulfilling lives they deserve," HHS Commissioner Toumpas said.
Over the life of the grant, roughly $500,000, or 75 percent of the funds, will go directly to each district and their community partners annually.
The grant is awarded as the state works to move forward on its 10-year plan to strengthen New Hampshire's strained mental health system, a priority for Governor Hassan. The Governor successfully secured an additional $24 million dollars for mental health services in the bipartisan budget she signed in June, which will help expand acute care beds, add a new designated receiving facility, add community residence beds, provide subsidies for housing and support services, add 10 Assertive Community Treatment Teams to assist people in crisis, and increase other community support services.