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ICYMI - Sununu lacked “necessary urgency” on mental health crisis

In Case You Missed It, the NH Bulletin reported that State Senators Cindy Rosenwald, Tom Sherman, and Rebecca Whitley slammed Governor Sununu for his failure to address New Hampshire’s mental health crisis after the legislature in 2019 passed a compromise budget that provided Sununu the money to invest in mental health.

Key points:

  • “‘There was so much that could have been done,’ said Sen. Becky Whitley, a Hopkinton Democrat, at a press conference Tuesday. ‘We just didn’t see the necessary urgency from the governor during that time before the pandemic hit.’ She added: ‘Once the pandemic hit . . . we saw a dramatic spike in children and adults waiting in the emergency rooms. And even then, we didn’t see the necessary urgency from the governor.’”

  • “The Democrats blame Sununu, who they say took the state’s mental health needs seriously only after the state Supreme Court said in a ruling last week that the state was violating the due process rights of people by not giving them timely hearings to challenge their detainment in emergency rooms while the state waits for an opening at a psychiatric hospital.”

  • “‘If only Governor Sununu had recognized the progressive urgency of the situation and implemented the reforms,’ Sen. Tom Sherman, a Rye Democrat, said at Tuesday’s press conference. ‘We all knew what was needed. Unfortunately, he did not, and now we’re facing an unprecedented crisis.’”

NH Bulletin: Democrats say Sununu lacked ‘necessary urgency’ on mental health crisis By Annmarie Timmins Before the Senate finalizes its changes to the House’s budget, Democratic senators want two things noted: Now is not the time to cut mental health funding, and Gov. Chris Sununu had the money in 2019 to make urgent the mental health investments he’s now calling for in Thursday’s executive order. “There was so much that could have been done,” said Sen. Becky Whitley, a Hopkinton Democrat, at a press conference Tuesday. “We just didn’t see the necessary urgency from the governor during that time before the pandemic hit.” She added: “Once the pandemic hit . . . we saw a dramatic spike in children and adults waiting in the emergency rooms. And even then, we didn’t see the necessary urgency from the governor.” [...] The Democrats, [...] want immediate increases in mental health care services, but they want it known they gave the state a plan and the money to do that well before COVID-19 shut down the state and triggered a dramatic increase in mental health needs. The budget Sununu and the Legislature signed off on in 2019 included a statewide mobile crisis response, funding for more psychiatric hospital beds, and 40 new transitional spaces for people once they no longer need hospital level mental health care. Much of that remains in progress. The Democrats blame Sununu, who they say took the state’s mental health needs seriously only after the state Supreme Court said in a ruling last week that the state was violating the due process rights of people by not giving them timely hearings to challenge their detainment in emergency rooms while the state waits for an opening at a psychiatric hospital. “If only Governor Sununu had recognized the progressive urgency of the situation and implemented the reforms,” Sen. Tom Sherman, a Rye Democrat, said at Tuesday’s press conference. “We all knew what was needed. Unfortunately, he did not, and now we’re facing an unprecedented crisis.” [...]

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