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A leading and respected voice on mental illness, NAMI NH advocates for improved access to services and social supports; early intervention; and science-based practices that promote recovery and build skills and resilience.

We train people to advocate, effectively communicating and working collaboratively with others to promote sustainable change in our mental health system and government policies while dispelling the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and suicide.

We engage with local, state, and national leaders and service providers, bringing both concerns and solutions to them, and helping them to understand the need for community-based systems of care that includes individuals and families in treatment, planning, delivery, and evaluation of services.

We fight stigma and discrimination by educating our leaders, the media and the public. By dispelling myths, stereotypes and prejudice, we also build awareness that mental illness is an illness like any other.

Reasons NAMI NH is needed now more than ever:

    • Treatment works and recovery is possible – and NAMI NH can herald that message as no other group can.
    • People with Serious Mental Illness (SMI), die on average, 25 years earlier than persons without SMI.
    • Knowledge is power and NAMI NH helps educate and train thousands of families, consumers, and community leaders each year.
    • Research has shown what NAMI NH has always known, support of families, by families experienced in dealing with mental illness is critical to the path of recovery for consumers.
    • State budget deficits can wipe away the community based mental health services that make a difference to persons with mental illness. NAMI NH advocates for high quality health and mental health care for all NH citizens.
    • Too many people with mental illness are still forced to live on the streets or in totally inadequate housing. NAMI NH fights for adequate housing.
    • People with mental illness are still treated like criminals, too often only finding their way into “the system” through jails and prisons. NAMI NH supports jail diversion programs and provides law enforcement education training.
    • People who live with mental illness are still excluded from meaningful employment, never given the opportunity to demonstrate the contribution they can make. NAMI NH supports evidence based practices like supported employment.
    • Stigma keeps thousands of people from seeking treatment or even acknowledging their illness. NAMI NH fights stigma through it’s education programs such as In Our Own Voice and Life Interrupted.
    • Early intervention and prevention services save lives, improve family life and strengthen communities. NAMI NH advocates for these services.

If you agree that there is much more left to be done, then won’t you please stand with us? We simply cannot do it without you!

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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…”

2017 NAMI NH Testimony on HB 602

2018 NAMI NH Testimony on HB 1565

You Can Influence Public Policy

So much was accomplished by NAMI NH’s founders, back in the 1980s, by creating personal contacts with their state and federal legislators. This work continues today, and it is a powerful action that you can take yourself. We’d like to help you with this process. Read on for information about who your state and federal legislators are and how, why, when and where to contact them.

We have two sets of government legislators:

    • one set of legislators for New Hampshire state government (find yours here);
    • one set of legislators for the federal government of the United States (find yours here).

The term ‘legislator’ refers to someone who makes laws. The term ‘legislature’ refers to a group of people who make laws—the lawmaking body.

The New Hampshire state legislature is actually called the General Court (only Massachusetts joins us in using this colonial term, which came from when the legislature included some work of the courts; other states use the term Legislature or Legislative Assembly). The New Hampshire General Court’s website can be found here. Although formally called the General Court, we will use the term legislature throughout, as that is what it is most commonly called.

New Hampshire’s legislature has two parts, called houses, bodies or chambers. This type of two-house legislature is called ‘bicameral’, with one house called the Upper House and one house called the Lower House.

The Upper House of all state governments (and the federal government) is always called the Senate. Its legislators are called Senators (US Senators if they were elected to the federal Senate, and State Senators if they were elected to their State Senate).

The Lower House of New Hampshire’s state government (and the federal government) is called the House of Representatives, or the House, for short. Legislators in the House of Representatives are called Representatives (US Representatives if they were elected to the federal House of Representatives, or State Representatives if they were elected to their State House of Representatives).

You are represented in our state government by one State Senator and from one to eleven State Representatives, depending upon where you live.

Remember, your legislators represent you.

State legislators meet in New Hampshire’s capitol city of Concord at the gold-domed capitol building called the State House, and also directly across the street at the “LOB” or Legislative Office Building.

States have different amounts of state legislators. New Hampshire is famous for having, by far, the largest group of state legislators, at 424 (24 State Senators and 400 State Representatives).

We have a legislature that is essentially volunteer. Our legislators earn a salary of $100 per year (so $200 for their two-year term). Our legislature is also part-time. Each state is different, and some states do have full-time state legislators who are paid much higher annual salaries (ranging all the way up to $95,219 in California).

In general, the New Hampshire legislature is in session from January through June, although the Governor can request that they meet at other times to address special or time-sensitive issues, such as when they met in November 2015 to address the opioid crisis. When the legislature meets outside of its normal session, at the request of the Governor, it is called a special session.

The state is divided into 24 State Senate districts that are approximately equal in population size. Each district has one State Senator to represent its residents. Taking New Hampshire’s population size into account, each State Senator represents 55,144 people.

For more information about the New Hampshire Senate, you can visit their web page here.

To find your State Senator, select your town from the drop-down menu here.

The state is divided into 103 State House districts that are approximately equal in population size. Four districts have one State Representative to represent its residents, while the other 99 districts have multiple State Representatives (ranging from two to eleven State Representatives, in what are known as multi-member districts). Therefore, depending on which district you live in, you will have from one to eleven State Representatives.

Taking New Hampshire’s population size into account, each State Representative represents 3,309 people. (Out of all 50 states, this is the smallest amount of people represented per State Representative. At the other end of the spectrum is California, where each State Representative represents 479,157 people. What an amazing opportunity we have in New Hampshire to really get to know our State Representatives! [2013 data]).

For more information about the New Hampshire House of Representatives, visit their website here.

To find your State Representative(s), select your town or district in the drop-down menu here. Note that several districts are also divided into wards.

The United States Congress

The legislature of the United States is called Congress. Its website can be found here

New Hampshire’s US legislators

New Hampshire’s US legislators (also called federal legislators) meet in the United States’ capitol city of Washington, DC, in the United States Capitol (also called the Capitol Building or Capitol Hill).

Each state has two US Senators. They serve 6-year terms that are staggered, so that we do not elect two Senators at the same time. Whichever Senator has been there longer is called the Senior Senator, and the newer Senator is called the Junior Senator. US Senators do not represent parts, or districts, within a state—they represent the whole state. Therefore, both Senators are your Senators. With 50 states each having two US Senators, the United States therefore has 100 US Senators.

Our two New Hampshire US Senators are Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Senator Maggie Hassan (D). Click the links to be connected to their web pages.

States have from one to 53 US Representatives—the number is determined by population size (with all states guaranteed at least one US Representative). In total, there are 435 US Representatives. They serve two-year terms, and their elections are held in even years. US Representatives are also called Congresswomen or Congressmen.

Based on its population size, New Hampshire has two US Representatives, and the state is divided into two Congressional districts. Representative Chris Pappas (D) represents District 1 and Representative Ann Kuster (D) represents District 2. Click the links to be connected to their web pages. To learn whether you live in District 1 or District 2, you can enter your zip code here.

How can I contact my legislators?

Because it is their job to listen to you and represent you, legislators work very hard to make themselves reachable. You can:

    • Call
    • Write a letter
    • Email
    • Schedule a meeting
    • Attend a meet-and-greet opportunity
    • Post to their Facebook page
    • Send them a Tweet

Contacting a legislator is going to be a different experience depending on whether you are contacting a US legislator or a state legislator.

US legislators work out of Washington, DC, when Congress is in session, or at one of several offices around the state when out of session. They are professional politicians and have a variety of resources, including multiple staff members and funding.

State legislators travel to the State House in Concord when the legislature is in session, but they are ‘regular’ citizens who are essentially volunteering their time to serve a public role. Except for a handful of legislators who have leadership positions, New Hampshire’s legislators do not have offices (they do get a locker at the State House!) or staff members. Some states do have ‘professional’ legislators, but New Hampshire does not—our legislature is considered a ‘citizen’s legislature.’

In New Hampshire, our state legislators typically provide their home address and their own cell phone or home number and email address so that their constituents can reach them.

You can find contact information for your NH State Representative here (select your town or district from the drop-down menu, and then click your State Representative’s name to see her or his contact information.)

You can find contact information for your NH State Senator here (select your town or district from the drop-down menu, and then click your State Senator’s name to see her or his contact information.)

Action steps you can take

    • Sign up for NAMI NH ENews and NAMI NH Public Policy Alerts. The ENews email newsletter is sent twice per month. The Public Policy Alerts are emailed when immediate action is needed, like phone calls or attending hearings.
    • “Like” NAMI NH on Facebook and catch the issues in real time. We’re also on Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube.
    • Check out NAMI NH’s Advocacy webpages for more in depth information, including links to testimony we have given at the State House, bills that we are following, and tips for contacting your state and federal legislators.
    • Attend our free winter “It’s Your Move” advocacy training to learn how New Hampshire government functions and how your story can be a vehicle for change.
    • Call us! Just let us know you’re interested in sharing your story, and we’ll work with you from there. Call (603) 225-5359 or email advocacy@naminh.org.
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