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View the 2018 State of the State address. You can click here to skip to the section addressing mental health.

2022 NH Legislative Session Recap

The 2022 session proved challenging, however NAMI NH had a vast majority of successes among its legislative priorities:

Improving Access to Mental Health/Physical Health Care

Our advocacy resulted in the passage of Medicaid dental benefits, new oversight of the state forensic hospital, and raising the income limits for the Medicaid In and Out Program. We saw the passage of a bill adopting interstate licensing standards and greater oversight ensuring that insurance companies comply with federal parity requirements. Our advocacy also defeated a bill that would have allowed short term (skinny) health plans that do not require mental health and substance use disorder services to be covered to be extended and renewed.

Unfortunately, a bill that would have extended postpartum coverage from 60 days to 1 year was not successful this session.

First Responders

This session there were a few bills concerning first responders. We successfully advocated for a death benefit for all first responders who die by suicide. Further, our advocacy assisted in passing a bill that will create a committee to study establishing a review board to look at all officer involved shootings to better address these incidents with the hope of having more positive outcomes. NAMI NH will monitor the committee’s activities and will provide testimony in front of the committee as outlined in the bill. Additionally, advocacy secured funds for Crisis Intervention Training for officers in small, rural departments with the goal of having a minimum of one officer in every state, county, and municipal department trained in CIT.

Children

Advocacy for children was a primary focus for NAMI NH this legislative session. With the assistance of partners and advocates, we secured funds to establish a pilot program to mitigate the effects of adverse childhood experiences for children birth to six years old (there is an existing program for children over 6). We were successful in advocating for middle and high school student identification cards to include the national suicide hotline on the back of the card.

In addition to items we were advocating for, there were a number of bills that NAMI NH opposed due to their potential harm for NH’s children. Of these, we were successful in maintaining the existing process of administering the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, and we were successful in defeating a bill that would have limited rules on climate and culture in schools; one that would have repealed the ban on conversion therapy; one that would have added allowing a child to have gender affirming medical care to the definition of child abuse; and one that would have allowed schools to prohibit trans adolescent girls from competing in sports with their peers. The efforts of mental health advocates also helped us defeat a bill that would have forced teachers and other school personnel to disclose to a parent any information about a child who identifies as transgender and to disclose if kids joined clubs like the Gay/ Straight Alliance.

Unfortunately, despite a couple of bills coming forward that would have repealed the restrictions limiting school teaching discussions regarding racism, homophobia, sexism, and other such issues that impact children’s mental health, we were not able to make changes in the law this year.

This session there were no bills focused on workforce or housing that NAMI NH was involved in. For the next session we may explore areas in the budget that can support these two issues.

NAMI New Hampshire Identifies 2022 Legislative Priorities

In addition to advocating for mental health priorities at the national level, NAMI NH’s 2022 legislative priorities here in the Granite State include:

Improve Access to Mental Health/Physical Health Care

  • Support dental benefits under Medicaid
  • Increase oversight and enforcement by NH Insurance Department regarding parity
  • Adopt interstate licensing standards (compact) for mental health professionals
  • Support legislation which moves forward plans for a new forensic hospital
  • Expand availability of physical health/mental health services for pregnant and postpartum women
  • Oppose offering health insurance plans that don’t require Essential Health Benefits (mental health and substance misuse treatment)
  • Limit negative impacts of Medicaid in and out requirements

First Responders

  • Death benefits for families of first responders who die by suicide
  • Establish a study committee to make recommendations on creation of an officer-involved shooting fatality review committee
  • Expand Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training

Children

  • Direct the Department of Health and Human Services establish a pilot program to support children who have experienced trauma and adverse events
  • Require schools to put the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number on school identification cards
  • Maintain the existing process for administering Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)
  • Oppose limiting rules and policies concerning culture and climate in schools
  • Repeal restrictions limiting school teaching/discussions regarding racism, homophobia, sexism and other issues which negatively impact children’s mental health
  • Oppose adding sexual reassignment to definition of child abuse
  • Oppose repeal of conversion therapy ban
  • Oppose state recognition of biological sex for the purposes of discrimination in athletic competitions, criminal incarceration, or places of intimate privacy

Workforce Shortages

  • Support measures to expand student loan repayment and other strategies to address workforce shortages

Affordable Housing

  • Support efforts to increase availability of affordable housing in NH

NAMI New Hampshire Identifies 2020 Legislative Priorities

In addition to advocating for mental health priorities at the national level, NAMI NH’s 2020 legislative priorities here in the Granite State include:

Pharmaceuticals & Pricing

  • Addressing rising prescription prices in NH, to ensure pharmaceutical treatment options are available to all.

Suicide Prevention Measures

  • Extreme Risk protective orders (temporary removal of firearms for individuals who are dangerous – especially as a suicide prevention measure).
  • Waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a firearm.

Children

  • Medicaid to schools.
  • Funding relative to multi-tiered systems of support.
  • Coverage for children’s early intervention services.
  • Provision of special education services for older students.

First Responders

  • Death benefits in instances of suicide loss.
  • Psychological exams.
  • Public review of officer-involved shootings.

Medicaid Block Grant

  • Opposing the Medicaid Block Grant proposal in favor of a more effective multi-tiered approach for the statewide mental health system.

Legislative Update - December 2019

NH State Budget Signed into Law

New Hampshire lawmakers and Governor Sununu arrived at a much-anticipated budget compromise right before the October 1, 2019 expiration of the continuing resolution funding state government.  The new budget will provide funding and support for many of the priority recommendations in the 10-Year Mental Health Plan to move forward.  Although not an all-inclusive list, among those initiatives are: 

  • A statewide mobile crisis response system for children experiencing a mental health crisis.
  • Expansion of an additional mobile crisis response team, or crisis care unit (walk-in clinic for mental health emergencies) in the state.
  • Increased Medicaid reimbursement rates to all providers of 3.1% in FY20 and 3.1% in FY21.
  • Funding for an additional designated receiving facility (to accept involuntary emergency admissions).
  • Funding for NH’s suicide prevention hotline.
  • Transfer of the Philbrook Children’s Unit at New Hampshire Hospital to Hampstead Hospital.  
  • $250,000 in suicide prevention funding in FY20 and again in FY21.
  • $8 million to begin building a new hospital/unit for forensic patients.  

While some of these initiatives will be felt immediately, others will take months/years to operationalize.  However, they represent significant progress at improving the mental health service delivery system.  

Thank you to all who attended hearings, wrote letters or emails, called legislators, and otherwise advocated for mental health and suicide prevention in the Granite State.  Your voices carried a lot of weight in making mental health a priority this legislative session.  

Let’s do the same for the upcoming presidential primary and elevate the importance of improving the mental health service delivery system, suicide prevention, and research nationally by telling your stories and asking candidates key questions about mental health services. 

Sample Questions to Ask 2020 Presidential Candidates

Bird-Dogging Basics

#Act4MentalHealth


NAMI NH Position on Secure Psychiatric Unit

NAMI New Hampshire has a long history of opposing the transfer of patients from New Hampshire Hospital to the care of the Department of Corrections (Secure Psychiatric Unit).   Specifically, we are opposed to the commingling of individuals with mental illness who are committed under Involuntary Emergency Admission (IEA) with those who are criminally committed.  We have provided written and oral testimony at numerous legislative hearings to this effect.  NAMI NH continues to advocate for more resources to improve access to appropriate levels of care across the entire mental health system.  

To learn more about our policy position on this issue, please see:

2016 Letter Co-authored by NAMI NH, American Civil Liberties Union of NH, Disability Rights Center, and NH Legal Assistance.

Excerpt: "We write to express our opposition to the continued transfer of civilly committed patients from New Hampshire Hospital to the Secure Psychiatric Unit in the New Hampshire State Prison..."

The 10 Year Mental Health Plan

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has released a final version of the new 10-Year Mental Health Plan.  Read the plan on the DHHS website.

NAMI NH has provided the following feedback to DHHS on the plan:

 General Talking points when contacting Legislators; House or Senate

Use your own words, but share your passion, it is critical that the Representatives hear about Mental Health

  • Mental Health is important to me, my family and our state and I am asking you to represent me and support increased funding
  • Myself/my family has been affected by mental illness, I support funding for improved services

Specific Talking points

  • Support the re-authorization of the NH Health Protection Program; also known as Medicaid Expansion; particularly the opportunity it offers for Substance misuse treatment and mental health treatment. Over 38,000 NH citizens are now insured and receive mental health services.
  • The NH Health Protection Program:
  • Provides insurance to NH’s working poor who cannot afford it.
  • Covers mental health and substance misuse disorders.
  • Saves money by lowering uncompensated hospital care.
  • Be prepared to wait to testify and leave your printed testimony if time runs out.
  • Fund the implementation of the “10 Year Plan”.
  • Fund the Mental Health Settlement Agreement.

Tips for Providing Testimony:

  • Arrive early to sign in to speak there will be a waiting list.
  • Your comments must be brief;  1-2 minutes maximum
  • If you prepare a testimony, bring printed copies to share with House members
The template below may assist you when preparing your testimony. After you prepare it, consider sending a copy to advocacy@naminh.org.

Heading to the Hearing?

Let us know- Email advocacy@naminh.org

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