N.H.’s community mental health centers: Hidden gems | News, Sports, Jobs

If you are not familiar with New Hampshire’s Community Mental Health Centers, then you may have overlooked the hidden gems that are in your back yard. CMHCs are places where clients can receive wrap-around services to help them achieve their best possible mental and physical health, keys to a fulfilling and productive life. If this sounds like something you might want to know more about, I hope you will keep reading.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of articles provided by Greater Nashua Mental Health in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month, May 1-31.


You may know that the CMHCs in New Hampshire were created because of the federal Community Mental Health Act that was passed in 1963. Former President John F. Kennedy’s call to action for a “new type of health facility, one which will return mental health care to the mainstream of American medicine, and at the same time upgrade mental health services” set a new tone for the future of mental health care.

Today, there are 10 CMHCs in the state of New Hampshire, each serving a specified geographic region of the state. Each community mental health center provides residents of all ages with a variety of mental health and substance use disorder services, but that is only the beginning. CMHCs also provide many supplemental services and supports that enhance recovery. One such important service is Supported Employment, a program that assists clients in returning to work, which can play a major role in the recovery process. Working provides purpose and structure to our lives, not to mention money for necessities and more. Our Drug Court and Mental Health Court programs provide treatment instead of incarceration, allowing those involved with the justice system to break the cycle of repeated criminal behavior by gaining insight into the underlying cause of their actions and receiving the supports necessary to change that behavior. These programs have changed and saved many lives.

Mental Health in Schools programs allow therapists to work within the local schools, providing treatment services to youth and adolescents who may not otherwise be able to access care. And with the critical need for increasing youth services, mental health professionals will be available in local summer camps for the second year in a row.

Substance Use Disorders have also increased exponentially, and CMHCs provide innovative programs for adults of all ages. In addition, specialized programs have been created for the treatment of youth and young adults ages 12 to 25 who are challenged with substance misuse, which have proven successful with this age group.

Another unique feature of CMHCs is the availability of practical supports that enhance the effectiveness of treatment. Peer Support Specialists, individuals who have lived experience with behavioral health challenges, are a valuable resource for clients. Working alongside someone who has “been there” not only demonstrates that treatment works but knowing that this person who was once struggling is now thriving also provides hope and inspiration. Case Managers can assist clients in obtaining and coordinating essential services they need such as housing, food, and transportation, while Community Support Staff help clients with day-to-day functions whether in a client’s home or in other community settings. Some CMHCs provide primary healthcare services to clients in the same facility where they receive behavioral health services, and others work in collaboration with local health clinics to ensure that the physical health of clients is part of the entire wellness plan. “Whole person health” is the goal since our minds and bodies are connected and the health of one intricately affects the health of the other. In addition, GNMH has a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services team, consisting of deaf and hearing professionals, all fluent in American Sign Language, which provides behavioral health services to individuals and families throughout the state of New Hampshire.

Thanks to a new program – NH Rapid Response Access Point – launched on Jan. 1, anyone in the state of New Hampshire experiencing a mental health or substance misuse crisis can call or text 833-710-6477 or chat to 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and be immediately connected to a clinician. If the crisis cannot be safely averted over the phone, a team of mental health professionals will deploy to the location of the caller, wherever that location may be. Thanks to this service, no one in NH ever has to feel alone or without hope.

CMHCs welcome people from all levels of society and treat them with dignity and respect. All Centers provide evidence-based services, meaning they are supported by the latest research and recommended practices, and clients can receive services regardless of financial or insurance limitations. If you need help, go to the NH Community Behavioral Health Center’s website at and find the center that is closest to you. Help is available to everyone in New Hampshire. We are all here for you; you are never alone.

For more information about GNMH visit or call 603-889-6147.


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