Behavioral Health Priority
Prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover.
Behavioral health is the scientific study of the emotions, behaviors, and biology relating to a person's mental well-being, their ability to function in every day life, and their concept of self. Behavioral health encompasses mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention and is a top priority in the Greater Nashua Public Health Region (GNPHR) for a variety of reasons. These reasons include our region's high prevalence of substance misuse, high rate of opioid overdose fatalities, high rate of suicide attempts and deaths by suicide, lack of access to timely treatment for those seeking behavioral health services, and limited mental health promotion and awareness. Approximately one in eight visits to emergency departments in the United States (U.S.) involves mental and substance use disorders.
Data from the 2020 Greater Nashua Community Health Assessment (CHA) reported that behavioral health is a top priority for the Greater Nashua Public Health Region (GNPHR).
Behavioral Health Workgroup
Mayor's Opioid Task Force
The City of Nashua Mayor's Opioid Task Force (MOTF) serves as the CHIP Behavioral Health Workgroup for the Greater Nashua region. MOTF is a diverse group of organizations who have a passion and vision to create change and make an impact on the current opioid problem in the GNPHR.
MOTF envisions the development of sustainable solutions through a continuum of care model to reduce barriers to access to treatment and recovery for substance misuse. MOTF works collaboratively to improve prevention activities and access to behavioral health services to stop overdose and save lives.
For more information or to get involved, click here.
Main takeaways from the Behavioral Health CHA 2020 page
• In 2019, 14 out of every 100,000 Americans died by suicide, 17 out of every 100,000 New Hampshire (NH) residents died by suicide, and 21 out of every 100,000 Hillsborough County residents died by suicide.
• Approximately 20% of adolescents have a diagnosable mental health condition. In 2019, 32% of High School students in the Greater Nashua Public Health Region (GNPHR) have reported feelings of sadness and/or hopelessness consecutively for a two week period.
• The majority of students that use substances in 2019 first started using substances at age 15 and 16 (Alcohol 41.4%, Marijuana 30.4%, Cigarettes 5%).
• The most popular illicit drugs with students in 2019 were synthetic marijuana (9% of students have tried synthetic marijuana at least once) and ecstasy (2% of students have tried ecstasy at least once).
For a full look at Behavioral Health in Greater Nashua, check out the PHEP 2020 Community Health Assessment page here.
Assets & Gaps Assessment
The Behavioral Health Assets & Gaps Assessment was sent out to community partners in May 2021 and closed in June 2021.
There were 32 Behavioral Health agency representatives from the Greater Nashua Public Health Region that responded to this assessment.
Behavioral Health Priority Areas
Community partners were asked to rank the priority areas that they believed were most important for the Greater Nashua Public Health Region to work on. The lowest score corresponds to the highest priority area.
Collectively, the main objectives under Behavioral Health include:
1) Reduce substance use among all age groups (illicit substances, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana
2) Increase awareness of behavioral health resources to improve or maintain mental health in all age groups
3) Improve access to substance use and mental health services through workforce development
Behavioral Health Programs & Services
Community partners were asked to identify what existing Behavioral Health programs their organization currently has in order to avoid duplication of efforts. Partners were also asked what Behavioral Health services are needed in the Greater Nashua Public Health Region.
In an open response question, community partners were asked to identify barriers to receiving Behavioral Health services. Partners were also asked if they had adequate staff available to run their Behavioral Health programs.
In an open response question, community partners were asked to discuss how their organization addresses issues of health equity, access to care and social determinants of health. Partners were also asked what specific efforts their organization makes to reach the Black, Indigenous and other Peoples of Color (BIPOC) population.
Greater outreach and availability of quality services in multiple languages to socio-economically disadvantaged populations is needed.
-- Community Organization
The Strategy Map below links to detailed objectives, data and programming details for Behavioral Health. Click on an objective to see more programming details about who is leading the effort in certain program areas and contact information so your organization can get involved.
Objectives and suggested strategies for behavioral health suggest a coordinated method for addressing this issue in the GNPHR. The idea of supporting consistent prevention training will ensure that messaging, terms, and best practices are understood and communicated throughout the continuum of care. DPHCS in conjunction with the Mayor's Opioid Task Force (MOTF) will spearhead these initiatives to improve mental health care, reduce substance use and build the behavioral health workforce.