$10M Grant Supports Behavioral and Physical Health in Strafford County

Dover, NH.  The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has received $10 million in  funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to integrate physical and behavioral health care for young people with severe mental illness or severe emotional disturbance.  Strafford County will see a portion of these funds directed to Community Partners, and Goodwin Community Health.


The department will receive this funding over five years to support ProHealth NH, a program designed to improve the health and wellness of people ages 16 to 35 with severe emotional disturbance and severe mental illness.


“This grant will enable us to build upon the important work we began last year within the mental health system,” said Gov. Chris Sununu. “Aligning physical health and mental health services makes perfect sense, and working with our largest mental health and community health partners to create a system of care will bring critical services to a greater number of young people, whose futures depend on them.”


The partnership between Goodwin Community Health and Community Partners will utilize this funding to provide a seamless approach of offering behavioral health services to clients, and then pairing these same clients with clinical teams that can simultaneously address co-occurring health care problems, chronic diseases and/or substance misuse disorders.


“Treating the whole self is vital to those with mental illness. This funding legitimizes the mental health crisis and its effect on individuals, families and our healthcare system.”, states Brian Collins, Executive Director for Community Partners.  “Individuals with mental illness often have additional physical ailments, and if left untreated, can result in tragic outcomes which could have been potentially avoided.  We are eager and proud to work with the care teams from Goodwin Community Health. Goodwin’s services fill a needed space in our community and together, our two organizations will change the lives of some of our most vulnerable citizens.”


“Support of this magnitude allows us to build on our partnership with Community Partners to expand much needed access to integrated behavioral health care and primary care for a population that can too easily fall through the cracks,” says Janet Laatsch, CEO of Greater Seacoast Community Health and Goodwin Community Health.  “Having well-organized resources and care coordination available for preventative care for young adults with mental illness and co-occurring physical health conditions is important.  It’s important both to the well-being of the long term prognosis of the individual and it’s important to keeping costs low for the overall health care system in our county and state.”


According to the World Health Organization:


  • People with severe mental disorders on average tend to die earlier than the general

population. This is referred to as premature mortality. There is a 10-25 year life expectancy

reduction in patients with severe mental disorders.


  • The vast majority of these deaths are due to chronic physical medical conditions such as

cardiovascular, respiratory and infectious diseases, diabetes and hypertension. Suicide is

another important cause of death.


  • The majority of deaths of patients with severe mental illness that are due to physical medical

conditions are preventable with more attentive checks for physical illness, side effects of

medicines and suicidal tendencies.


Community Partners is the state designated Community Mental Health Center, Area Agency and Family Support Center for Strafford County, offering a wide variety of services across an individual’s lifespan. For more information about Community Partners visit www.communitypartnersnh.org.


Goodwin Community Health is the only FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) in the Strafford County area to provide access to primary, dental, prenatal, and behavioral health care as well as community wellness and public health services.  For more information about Goodwin visit www.GoodwinCH.org

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