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Mobile crisis teams would make house calls to children with mental health problems within an hour anywhere in the state under a bill backed by a Senate committee Tuesday.

At 13, Anna Mandh is already familiar with several mental health hospitals in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

She can name them with ease: the Yellow Pod at Concord Hospital and Hampstead Hospital, the Brattleboro Retreat over the border in Vermont, and the McLean-Franciscan Children inpatient program just outside of Boston.

Mobile crisis teams would make house calls to children with mental health problems within an hour anywhere in the state under a bill backed by a Senate committee Tuesday.

In a rare display of unanimity, the Senate on Thursday advanced two major pieces of legislation aimed at addressing the statewide crisis in mental health services and child welfare.

Senate Bill 11, which allocates more than $10 million to mental health services, and Senate Bill 14, a sweeping $9 million overhaul of the state’s child protection practices, were approved with little debate in 24-0 votes.

When we think about New Hampshire’s future, a top priority for all citizens should be ensuring that we have an education system that works for every student. But educational opportunities are not equally distributed among all our state’s communities, meaning that some children are struggling because they are not given a fair chance to do well.

As an educator, counselor, mother, and citizen, I have experienced over and over again just how difficult it is for children in crisis to receive the support they need in a timely and humane way. When a child shares suicidal thoughts with me, my best response (as things are now) is to notify a parent (who may or may not take action to seek help for their child.)

School nurses do a lot more than dispense medication and take temperatures these days, which is why the state Legislature four years ago passed a bill raising their education requirement from a two-year to a four-year degree.

The ongoing mental health, substance misuse, and child protection crises have taken a significant toll on New Hampshire's children and families, impacting all child-serving systems and placing increased pressure on the children's behavioral health system.

New Hampshire needs a full system of care to support children with mental health concerns. One of the most important things we can do for our kids is to make mobile crisis services available everywhere in the state. Mobile crisis responds immediately when kids are in a behavioral health crisis, like when they are suicidal. They assess the child, resolve the immediate crisis, and help connect the children and families with supports.

Since their son died, Martha and Paul Dickey have had little time to pause. The two have held fundraisers, launched community walks, made bracelets, and spoken to groups across the state about Jason’s life and the cause of his death: suicide.

“We asked ourselves: What did we miss? What we could we have done to save him? Where did we go wrong?” Dickey said.