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Apr 9, 2017 4:28 PM

Increase in wait for mental health beds prompts discussion with NH gov. to tackle problem

The Associated Press

The average number of people waiting to gain access to a mental health bed in New Hampshire is now 46, up from nine in 2013.

The Portsmouth Herald reports that Republican Gov. Chris Sununu says he gets daily reports on the issue which he calls a crisis.

The governor has a meeting scheduled for Monday to develop plans to tackle the problem.

The executive director of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Alliance of Mental Illness says the problem is exacerbated by hospitals closing their psychiatric units to focus on more profitable endeavors.

Other issues include the stigma attached to mental illness and the difficulty of finding enough psychiatrists, case managers and psychiatric nurses to staff existing facilities.

An activist group called the Kent Street Coalition stood in front of the Statehouse last Wednesday to bring awareness towards the lack of hospital beds for those with mental illness.

READ: NH group brings awareness to lack of treatment, hospital beds for those with mental illness

After standing in protest outside, a few of the members met with Governor Chris Sununu's Health Policy Director D.J. Bettencourt, Dr. Alexander de Nesnera of the New Hampshire State Hospital and Dr. Thomas Scott of Physician Clear Choice to talk about the problem. One of their members will be attending the Monday round table discussion.

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