LACONIA — In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, Lakes Region Mental Health Center will be offering a free public event, “Confronting the Mental Health Crisis: The Power and Potential of Peer Support” at the Colonial Theater in Laconia on Wednesday, May 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. Pre-registration is not required and refreshments will be provided.

This year’s event includes a panel discussion with local professionals who utilize peer support to promote health and wellness in their communities. Event panelists include Mike Gallagher, certified recovery support worker at Navigating Recovery; Deb Pendergast, director-NH Fire Standards, Training and Emergency Medical Services, NH Fire and EMS Academy; Chris Grasso, Emergency Services Peer Support, Lakes Region Mental Health Center; Ayla Kendall, MS, Peer Integration Specialist, Program Planning and Review Specialist, Bureau of Mental Health Services, NH DHHS; Seth Gahr, New Hampshire State Police Peer Support Coordinator and Lorraine Davis, Family Peer Support Specialist, NAMI NH.

Peer support has been utilized informally for decades, and history has shown us that it is a powerful tool in supporting an individual’s mental health. Its rapid growth in recent years highlights the need, as well as a shared understanding by many, of its effectiveness. “Both research and personal experience support the transformational role that peer specialists have on individuals and systems, helping people to make the best decisions for themselves, often regaining control over situations they had previously felt powerless in,” said Maggie Pritchard, CEO, Lakes Region Mental Health Center.

For a list of all the May events across New Hampshire, please visit:

Each year, Lakes Region Mental Health Center recognizes two community members who strengthen the cause of mental health and promote increased awareness and understanding of mental health issues in the Lakes Region. This year’s award winners will be announced during the event.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 603-524-1100 or visit the website at

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