In The News...

n the recent Finding Hope series, the Monitor highlighted youth suicide as a surging crisis in New Hampshire. New Hampshire’s youth suicide rates are 50 percent higher than the national average, and they’re spiking.

The state has approved an expansion of the Medicaid to Schools program, which will cover half the cost of services for students with medical and behavioral health needs.

And that could be a “game changer” for school districts that struggle to pay for such services, school administrators say.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has received funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to integrate physical and mental health care for young people with severe mental illness or severe emotional disturbance.

Last August the New Hampshire legislature passed a bill that would allow schools to be reimbursed for part of the costs associated with things like speech therapy, mental health counseling and nursing for all students who qualify for Medicaid.

Previously that reimbursement was only available for some students who qualify for Medicaid. But schools are not yet taking advantage of this additional federal money. 

Schools will reopen in the next few weeks across New Hampshire without newly available federal money for student services such as speech therapy, mental health counseling and nursing.

State health officials expect to double the number of children with serious behavioral problems who get “wraparound” services such as peer support, in-home counseling and respite care, after the federal government approved a change in the state’s Medicaid plan.

New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services wants to improve its child welfare system by integrating mental health, substance abuse, and preventive services to better support youth and families.An assessment done for the department was released Monday.

In the wake of incidents such as the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14th, our nation – including New Hampshire – has begun to put more emphasis on ways to increase safety in schools.

A task force’s report on making New Hampshire schools safer includes a strong focus on mental health, though one advocacy group says the suggestions don’t go far enough.

School safety issues are very complex, but we must find meaningful, systemic, and effective solutions to end gun violence and improve school safety. Safe and successful schools need thriving children who feel socially, emotionally, and physically safe and supported. As leaders and professionals, we must ensure that we are supporting the healthy social and emotional development of New Hampshire’s future citizens and leaders.