Published DateTo the editor,
As we come to the end of another town meeting season, all of us at Genesis Behavioral Health are grateful for the generous appropriations we received from so many of the towns we serve. These are challenging times for all of us. Yet, the voters clearly recognized the importance of good mental health to a healthy community. We were humbled by the increased funding we received from many towns, and honored to receive several new appropriations.
Thank you to the towns of Alexandria, Alton, Ashland, Belmont, Bristol, Center Harbor, Ellsworth, Gilford, Gilmanton, Groton, Hebron, Holderness, Meredith, New Hampton, Plymouth, Rumney, Thornton and Wentworth for supporting Emergency Services, and to the City of Laconia for its past and anticipated support. We recognize that you have difficult choices to make, and we thank you for choosing to invest in Genesis Behavioral Health.
One in four adults and one in 10 young children will be affected by a mental health disorder in a given year. Mental illness impacts all of us in some way, whether directly as a client or family member, or indirectly as a member of the community. Without proper treatment, mental illness often affects one's ability to work, participate in school, contribute to the community and maintain relationships. In fact, the economic cost of untreated mental illness is more than 100 billion dollars each year in the United States, causing unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, suicide and wasted lives (National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2011). Reduced access to mental health care leads to increased demand on many of the systems in our community, including emergency rooms, law enforcement, first responders, courts, corrections, schools and municipalities.
The appropriation you made to Genesis Behavioral Health will help us provide emergency services to any resident of your town who is experiencing a mental health crisis. Our team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide crisis intervention, regardless of an individual's ability to pay. The funding we receive from towns alleviates the deficit we incur as a result of providing this program to our communities.
We look forward to a continued partnership with the towns we serve, and invite our community to become our partner. We encourage you to advocate, give, or volunteer. Most of all, we thank you for recognizing that a healthy community requires healthy minds as well as healthy bodies.
Margaret M. Pritchard
Genesis Behavioral Health