NH launching new initiative to lower stigma of mental illness
CONCORD — A new nationwide initiative aimed at lowering the stigma of mental illness is launching in New Hampshire next week.
Former state Chief Justice John Broderick is the co-chair of Change Direction for New Hampshire. For Broderick, the issue is a personal one. In 2002, he was seriously injured by his son who was suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness.
"I don't want parents to have my experience or the mentally ill to have my sons experience, when it's unnecessary in many cases," Broderick said.
His son has since gotten the help he needs. Now, Broderick is encouraging anyone struggling with mental illness to come forward and not be ashamed to ask for help.
"Be visible," he said. "If they're visible then we can assess what the needs are."
As a society, he believes the needs are high. After speaking with medical professionals he says the drug crisis is connected to mental illness, with many people attempting to medicate themselves.
Following the recent shooting of two Manchester Police officers, Broderick can empathize with the father of the man accused of shooting them.
"That young man, he's ill. He's not well, so we need to find people sooner and we need to be less judgmental about it," Broderick said.
Russell MacPherson said his son, Ian MacPherson has been struggling with mental illness for years and he's calling for change in the mental health system.
"It's ok to come out of the shadows and if they do we'll save lives and change lives. It would have changed and saved our lives if we had known," Broderick said.
Broderick is hoping to fill all 400 seats in the House Chambers at the State House Monday with people who have been impacted by mental illness. The event takes place May 23rd at 10 a.m. Click here for more information, tickets are free.