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Senate and House Democrats Emphasize Importance of Children's Mental Health Funding in Next Budget

Contact Name: Marina Altschiller and Zack Sheehan

Phone: (603) 271-3207, (603) 271-2136

CONCORD - Today, in anticipation of Governor Sununu’s budget address, Senator Tom Sherman (D-Rye), Senator Becky Whitley (D-Hopkinton) and Representative Pat Long (D-Manchester) issued the following statements:

“As of Tuesday, 44 New Hampshire children were sitting in our hospital emergency rooms in mental health crisis waiting for inpatient psychiatric beds,” stated Senator Tom Sherman (D-Rye). “This egregious failure to provide essential services to these young patients who need us most represents an intolerable deficiency in our state’s healthcare system. We have known what needs to be done because we funded it in the final state budget back in September of 2019, six months before the impact of the COVID pandemic. The money was there as was the statutory authority and still it has not been implemented. I hope that Governor Sununu, in his budget that he will release this week, demonstrates the leadership and determination that is needed to solve this crisis once and for all by making this pediatric mental health crisis one of his top priorities. These children are all of our children, and they are our future. They deserve nothing less.”

Senator Becky Whitley (D-Hopkinton) added, “Recently, I had the honor of speaking with a brave young woman who spent nearly a week in an emergency room as she waited for treatment. Her words have stuck with me - ‘if a kid is brave enough to ask for help when they really need it, they should get as much as they possibly can.’ I truly hope Governor Sununu listens to New Hampshire’s children and fully implements the children’s system of care for mental health. Children should never have to wait in an emergency room for care when they are in crisis. This is not how we should treat our most vulnerable citizens.”

“The past year at home for children and families has only exacerbated an already existing need for increased DCYF funding,” added Representative Pat Long (D-Manchester). “Recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic must include funding for the safety and welfare of our children and for the overburdened staff at DCYF. Support from this state budget will be an imperative measure in determining how New Hampshire’s children succeed moving forward.”



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