In the US, mental health issues among adults are prevalent: The National Institute of Health estimates that one in five adults experience mental illness. In addition, there is growing evidence that the recent pandemic has significantly exacerbated mental health issues and disrupted access to services, according to the World Health Organization.
In New Hampshire, an elevated level of serious mental health issues can be seen in disproportionate suicide and substance misuse rates. A United Health Foundation report shows that while in 2009 the suicide rate in NH matched the national average, in 2018 NH had one of the top 15 highest rates at 19.8 deaths per 100,000 as compared to that of the national average of 14.8.
NH is also among the six states with the highest rates of drug-related deaths. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2017 the opioid-involved drug overdose death rate was 34.0 per 100,000 persons in NH, compared with a rate of 14.6 per 100,000 persons nationally.
What can you do to help your loved ones?
It starts with being present and available to identify signs and symptoms that someone you know and care about may be experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis. Getting help early is the best way to prevent challenges from impacting important life factors like relationships, employment and enjoyment from life. Sometimes it can be difficult to know when someone is experiencing a challenge. You can learn the skills to identify signs and symptoms, and help connect your friends, family and colleagues who may be in need of support and services. Learn more by exploring the opportunities listed below.
Get trained in Adult Mental Health First Aid. This eight-hour training provides information and practice on how to identify and respond to mental health challenges and substance misuse disorders. Find out more and request a training here: https://extension.unh.edu/health-well-being/youth-family-resiliency/mental-health-first-aidr
Know the five signs of emotional suffering and steps you can take to address these signs: https://extension.unh.edu/blog/2020/12/know-5-signs-emotional-suffering
Know where to get help. Check out this contact list for resources in NH and nationally. https://extension.unh.edu/mentalhealth