general information

Mental illnesses are treatable disorders of the brain. Left untreated, they are among the most disabling and destructive illnesses. Recovery is possible with proper treatment and sometimes medication. Successful recovery involves learning about your illness and the treatments available, empowering yourself through the support of peers and family members and taking action to manage your own illness. The links below provide valuable information on recovery from mental illness.

Mental Health In New Hampshire

Community Mental Health Centers in NH provide an array of services and supports and 24/7 emergency services

Peer Support Agencies provide services by and for people with a mental illness to assist with their recovery.

Support Groups – NAMI NH offers groups in communities across the state that are facilitated by a trained leader with lived experience who is a family member, parent/caregiver, or person in recovery from a mental health condition.

NAMI Peer-to-Peer is an 8-week educational program for adults with mental health conditions.

In Our Own Voice is a speaker program for people who are in recovery.

How to Access Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefits – 2020 Update

NH Insurance Department – If you have concerns that your health insurance carrier has failed to comply with state or federal insurance laws, including parity laws, you should contact the New Hampshire Insurance Department for questions or submit a complaint.

Parity: Similar costs and benefits for mental health, substance use disorder, and medical treatments. The costs and benefits do not have to be exactly equal to meet parity standards− just similar.

If you have questions or assistance is making a complaint, you can contact the New Hampshire Insurance Department Consumer Services Unit at 800-852-3416 or by email at consumerservices@ins.nh.gov

NAMI NH offers a variety of supports to family members who have a loved one with mental illness. In addition to those listed below, we have a large variety of printed materials on various mental illnesses. Click the links below or on the side navigation for more information on the desired topic.

Family Support Groups ~ offered around the state for family members and friends of adults with mental illness

Adult Guidebook ~ a resource for friends and family members of individuals with mental illness

One-on-One Support ~ our Family Support Specialist provides One-on-One Support to family members seeking assistance ~ call 603.225.5359

Information & Resource Line ~ call 800.242.6264, Monday ~ Friday, 9 am ~ 5 pm

Life Interrupted ~ speaker program for family members who have a loved one with mental illness

Mental Illness & Families of Faith: How Congregations Can Respond ~ resource/study guide for clergy and faith communities, Mental Health Ministries

NAMI NH offers a variety of supports to parents who have a child/adolescent with serious emotional disorders. In addition to those listed below, we have a large variety of printed materials on various mental illnesses. Click the links below or on the side navigation for more information on the desired topic.

Parent/Caregiver Guidebook ~ for parents and caregivers of children/adolescents with serious emotional disorders

Parent Support Groups ~ offered around the state for parents who have a child/adolescent with serious emotional disorders

One-on-One Support ~ our Family Support Specialist provides One-on-One support to family members seeking assistance ~ call 603.225.5359

Information & Resource Line ~ call (800) 242-6264, Monday ~ Friday, 9 am ~ 5 pm

NH Family Network (NHFN) ~ provides support, education and advocacy for families supporting youth and children living with mental health challenges.

Protecting the Rights of Parents and Prospective Parents with Disabilities

What Families Can Do When a Child May Have a Mental Illness

If you are worried about your child’s mental health, follow your instincts. Unexplained changes in a child’s behavior and/or mood may be the early warning signs of a mental health condition and should never be ignored.

There are many different types of mental illness, and it isn’t easy to simplify the range of challenges children face. One way to begin to get a handle on this question is to get an evaluation of your child or teen by a licensed mental health professional. Because all children and youth are unique and the local mental health services, insurance coverage and school services vary a great deal from community to community, it is a challenge to find the right kind of help for your child.

NH Children’s Behavioral Health Plan

Learn how you can help move forward the building of a comprehensive, integrated child serving system of care 

NH Children’s System of Care Website

NAMI NH offers several supports to teens and young adults (ages 14-21) who are looking for information and resources to help them successfully transition to adulthood. We also encourage teens and youth to become involved with leadership opportunities to ensure the youth voice is strong and heard regarding the mental health system.

Life Under Construction ~ social networking site on FACEBOOK  facilitated by a young adult. This site provides information, support and resources to assist teens and youth with emotional disorders/mental illness transition successfully into adulthood. You’ll also find information about how teens and young adults can get involved and connect with leadership opportunities that can influence policies in mental health, education and other related areas.

Youth M.O.V.E. National ~ This youth led national organization is devoted to improving services and systems that support positive growth and development by uniting the voices of individuals who have lived experience in various systems including mental health, juvenile justice, education and child welfare. Would you be interested in helping to strengthen the voice of youth in the NH policy making process? Get involved in the development of the NH chapter. Contact youthmovenh@gmail.com.

NAMI NH Information and Resource Line ~ call (800) 242-6264 ext. 4, Monday ~ Friday, 9 am ~ 5 pm or email info@naminh.org

NAMI NH Membership ~ the voice of youth is essential to the transformation of NH’s public mental health system. Become a member today!

A Youth Guide to Treatment and Treatment Planning: A Better Life
This workbook for youth by Dr. Mary Grealish and Dr. Mark Chenven provides strategies to encourage them to engage in their treatment planning, using a strengths-based approach.  Click here to view the workbook.

NH Older Adult Suicide Prevention Information Sheet

Older Adult Guidebook for family members and caregivers of older adults with mental illness

Side by Side ~ for family members and caregivers of older adults with mental illness

Part 1 of the Elder Health Video Series from the Endowment for Health

Part 2 of the Elder Health Video Series from the Endowment for Health

General Support and Education

Support Groups – Family, parent, peer support, and survivor of suicide loss support groups are available across NH.

Education Programs -We provide a number of education and training programs bringing information about mental illness and suicide prevention to the workplace, communities and service providers throughout New Hampshire.

Military & Veteran Family-Specific Support

Online Support Group – NH Veterans and Military Families Supporting Each Other is facilitated by a NAMI NH staff member and military spouse.  This is a closed private Facebook group where folks can share ideas, information and resources. You can join simply by searching the group name in Facebook and submitting a request to join along with answering a few screening questions.

One-on-One Support – One-on-One support is also available, to learn more, please contact Kimberly Somarriba at ksomarriba@naminh.org or 603-568-5780.

NAMI Homefront is a free, 6-session online educational program for families, caregivers and friends of military service members and vets with mental health conditions.  

Based on the nationally recognized NAMI Family-to-Family program, NAMI Homefront is designed to address the unique needs of family, caregivers and friends of those who have served or are currently serving our country. The program is taught by trained family members of service members/veterans living with mental health conditions.

NAMI Homefront teaches you how to:

    • Manage crises, solve problems and communicate effectively.
    • Learn to care for yourself, including managing your stress.
    • Develop the confidence and stamina to support your family member with compassion.
    • Identify and access federal, state and local services.
    • Stay informed on the latest research and information on mental health, including post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse.
    • Understand current treatments, including evidence-based therapies, medications and side effects.
    • Navigate the challenges and impact of mental health conditions on the entire family.

To learn more about these, and other supports and resources, please contact:
Kimberly Somarriba, Military and Family Support Specialist
ksomarriba@naminh.org | 603-568-5780

Mental illnesses can profoundly disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, moods, ability to relate to others and capacity for coping with the demands of life. They are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing, but instead are biologically based brain disorders that can affect persons of any age, race, religion or income.

At the heart of NAMI NH’s mission is the sharing of information with consumers, their families, friends, mental health professionals and the general public. We strive to educate all people about severe and persistent mental illnesses, to eliminate stigma and to promote access to integrated systems of care and rehabilitation. To learn more about selected mental illnesses, visit the NAMI National Mental Illness page.

Mental Health Condition Fact Sheets

Related Condition Fact Sheets

An Integration of Mental Health Services and Primary Health Care

Integrated health care is a system of health care in which both mental and physical problems and disorders are treated simultaneously. It is a system that recognizes that a mental disorder must be treated with equal importance as a physical disorder. President Bush’s New Freedom Commission Report on Mental Health reinforces this idea:

“Understanding that mental health is essential to overall health is fundamental for establishing a health system that treats mental illnesses with the same urgency as it treats physical illnesses.”

In order to properly treat individuals with mental disorders we must pay closer attention to how the mental and general medical care systems can work together. It is clear that mental and physical health are connected, and with a transformed system in which both care systems collaborate for care, we can bridge the gap that currently exists between these two systems. Under an integrated health care system, effective mental health treatments will be available for most mental disorders, and primary care providers will have the necessary time, training and resources to appropriately treat mental health problems and have access to mental health specialists when it is necessary to make a referral.

Total Well-Being

For people who live with mental illnesses, a healthy lifestyle is especially important. Sometimes, it is easy to become so focused on treating a mental illness that physical health is neglected. But having a healthy body contributes to emotional recovery. Eating the right foods, exercising, finding ways to manage stress, getting enough rest and having friends and activities that you enjoy are all part of healthy living. It can help you make better choices for yourself, develop new interests and even make new friends and acquaintances, leading to a happier, more fulfilling life. Review information about the importance of physical health in conjunction with mental health, and to access the Hearts and Minds booklet visit NAMI Hearts and Minds.

The Mind Body Connection

Research has shown that having depression can affect other physical illnesses such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, and heart disease. Having depression can make these, and other illnesses more frequent, severe and difficult to treat. If depression is untreated, many illnesses can worsen. So, treating depression can help individuals manage physical illness and improve their general health.

Symptoms of Depression

    • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
    • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
    • Feels of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
    • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
    • Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
    • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
    • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
    • Appetite and/or weight changes
    • Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts
    • Restlessness, irritability

If five or more of these symptoms are present every day for at least two weeks and interfere with routine daily activities such as work, self-care, and childcare or social life, seek an evaluation for depression. Visit the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) for more information on depression.

The Collaborative Family Approach to Healthcare

“The collaborative family healthcare model envisions seamless collaboration between psychosocial, biomedical, nursing, and other healthcare providers, and views patient, family, community, and provider systems as equal participants in the healthcare process. This approach is a radical departure from conventional “diagnose and refer” models and is distinctly different from the usual managed care approaches. It recognizes that clinical events always occur at biological, psychological and social levels, and that patient, family, and community represent a single ecosystem. By adding the essential ingredients of psychological and family care at the front end, and continuously throughout the healthcare process, and by coordinating and integrating the hard-won expertise of these and other healthcare professions, the wasteful use of repeated diagnostic procedures is minimized, as are costly sub-specialty referrals. It is a profoundly ethical approach that conserves resources for all participants: patients and their families, clinical providers, administrative and financial entities .” For more information, visit Collaborative Family Healthcare Association.

Research Reports

NH Mental Health Commission Report ~ Vol. I

Access NH – Living with Disability in the Granite State, Vol. 1, Issue 2

Policy Brief: The Changing Dynamics of Hospital Care for Mental Illness & Substance Use in NH – Implications for Supporting Continuums of Care

NH’s Prescription for Mental Health Care – Comprehensive, Integrated and Coordinated Health Care

Documenting NH’s need to fundamentally revise its approach for treating mental and physical health and substance use disorders.

Get it Together – How to Integrate Physical and Mental Health Care for People with Serious Mental Disorders

This report examines model programs for improving integration and coordination of behavioral health and primary health services for adults and children with serious mental disorders who rely on the public mental health system for their care.

Integrating Publicly Funded Physical and Behavioral Health Services: A Description of Selected Initiatives – Final Report

This report was prepared for The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to identify and describe existing models of publicly funded integrated service programs.

Psychosocial Treatments

The term psychosocial refers to an individual’s psychological development in and interaction with their social environment. Psychosocial treatments (interventions) include structured counseling, motivational enhancement, case management, care-coordination, psychotherapy and relapse prevention. Refer to the links below for in depth information on the various types of psychosocial treatments available today.

Other Treatments

Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery – promotes personal, organizational and community wellness and empowerment through education, training and research

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) – offers support groups that can help you stick with your treatment plan and avoid hospitalization

Emotions Anonymous – twelve-step organization weekly meetings for the purpose of working toward recovery from emotional difficulties

National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery – recovery and advocacy organization

National Empowerment Center – think tank responsible for some of the first and most important research and advocacy on recovery

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration – federal mental health website contains information on all their publications (many are free) and other resources

NAMI Fact Sheets – information sheets on medications used for treatment for mental illnesses

Prescription Drug Assistance Program – information on free or low-cost medications provided by pharmaceutical companies

US Food and Drug Administration Center for Drug Evaluation and Research – federal website with consumer information on drugs approved by the FDA since January 1998

Taking medications correctly is an important factor in recovery. Many effective medications for the treatment of mental illnesses have become available in the past few decades.New medications offer exciting possibilities for individuals with severe mental illnesses to lead full and productive lives. These treatments can often mean the difference between hope and despair, recovery and struggle, even life and death. Below are links to several sites with extensive information on various medications.

A person taking their medicines incorrectly is a major public health problem and contributes to the high cost of health care.* It is estimated that about 50% of patients stop taking prescribed medicines before their doctor intended. Many medicines are now available to help treat conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, schizophrenia, and depression. However, if persons do not take their medicines correctly, their health problems may get worse. Ask yourself these questions to see if you take medicines correctly:

    • Did you ever get a prescription from your doctor and not have it filled?
    • Did you ever skip taking a dose of your medicine?
    • Did you ever stop taking your medicine because you “felt better”?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may not be getting the full benefit from your medicine. What can you do…?

    • Understand how the doctor wants you to take the medicine and take it exactly as prescribed.
    • If you have questions about your medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
    • Write down any instructions from your doctor or pharmacist.
    • Take your medicine at the same time each day or with an activity you do daily.
    • Find ways to help remember when to take your medicine:
    • For example: when you brush your teeth, with meals, or at bedtime
    • Tell a friend or spouse about your medicine schedule and he or she can help you remember.
    • Keep your medicine where you will remember to take it, BUT DO NOT LEAVE IT WITHIN THE REACH OF CHILDREN!
    • Use a daily planner and check it off after taking your medicine.
    • Don’t skip your medicine because you are feeling well and think you no longer need it.
    • Be alert for possible side effects and report them promptly.
    • Know what foods, drinks, other medicines, or activities to avoid.
    • Get refills of your prescription before you run out; plan ahead for weekends or holidays.

Be sure to know these things for every medicine you take…

    • It’s name
    • Why you are taking it
    • How much to take
    • How often to take it
    • When to take it each day
    • Where to store it
    • How long to take it for
    • What the side effects might be

If you have a problem or any questions, call your provider or pharmacist!!!

* Vermeire E et al. Patient adherence to treatment: three decades of research. A comprehensive review. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2001; 26:331-42.

Joining a Clinical Trial

Participating in clinical trials is not for everyone. If you are interested, you can learn more about participating in a clinical trial from the resources linked below.

Listings of Clinical Trials

Local Clinical Trials

It can be challenging to find psychiatric clinical trials in New Hampshire. Below are locations in the state that frequently conduct open clinical trials. Please note that NAMI NH is providing this information as a general resource. NAMI NH does not endorse or recommend any particular organizations, trials, treatments, or medications.

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