New Hampshire Changes Direction

New Hampshire was the first state to launch the national "Campaign to Change Direction" statewide. Late last month hundreds gathered in representatives’ hall at the State House to hear about the initiative. The campaign represents a commitment to raise awareness about the national mental health crisis and to change the culture in America about mental health, mental illness, and wellness.

State leaders joined the medical and mental health community, as well as law enforcement, business, and education at the State House. The hundreds assembled heard from state leaders whose families have been affected by mental illness, including former state Supreme Court Justice John Broderick, and US Representatives Frank Guinta and Annie Kuster.

Barbara Van Dahlen, clinical psychologist, national founder of Change Direction, encouraged openness in discussing mental health issues. "Change Direction NH" plans to raise awareness of mental health disorders and eliminate the stigma around these issues.  The campaign seeks to raise awareness of five signs of emotional suffering: withdrawal, agitation, hopelessness, decline in personal care, and change in personality.

New Hampshire officials are joining Michelle Obama, Richard Gere, and Prince Harry, all of who made videos encouraging residents to care for their mental health and learn the signs of emotional distress.