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Forum, May 10: Mental health courts at work


Thursday, May 09, 2019
Mental health courts at work

“While this has been one of the worst years of my life,” a Grafton County Mental Health Court participant said recently, “it has also been the best in terms of personal growth, thanks to Mental Health Court.”

Mental health courts, which operate in Grafton County, other New Hampshire counties and increasingly across the nation, offer alternative sentencing to people who have committed crimes but also have a mental health diagnosis. Rather than go to jail, the participant signs a one- to two-year contract with the court and agrees to attend counseling, take medications (if and as prescribed), attend group sessions, seek employment if not already working, and check in with the court team monthly in the Lebanon, Littleton or Plymouth district courts.

If participants cannot meet their contract, they must serve their time.

Participants can be referred by family, law enforcement, clinicians or the judicial system. Like its parallel program, Drug Court, Mental Health Court provides an ongoing, supported and monitored opportunity for people who have committed crimes to be accountable to society while strengthening their family relationships, moving forward in work or school, and taking better care of themselves, physically, emotionally and socially.

The Grafton County Mental Health Court program also involves a fraction of the cost of incarceration and has a much lower recidivism rate.

Advocates for Grafton County Mental Health Court is a board of volunteers who support Mental Health Court participants at their monthly court meetings and raise money to provide incentives when goals are met. Mental Health Court works. For more information, to volunteer or to support this important work, visit advocatesgcmhc.org or call 603-787-2042, ext. 4.

PATRICIA WHITNEY

Sunapee

The writer serves as secretary for Advocates for Grafton County Mental Health Court.

Buy local — even your news

I love the final line of Valley News Editor Maggie Cassidy’s recent opinion piece (“We’re counting on you to support what you value,” May 4): “And if we’re not willing to pay for what we value, we could one day find news deserts where forests once stood.”

I’m with you.

For me, sustainable living, which aims to save those forests, involves a simple concept: Support local resources. Here in the Upper Valley, the Valley News is one of those valuable local resources, along with libraries, bookstores, farms, family-owned restaurants and a truly local supermarket.

There are many ways to try to live in an environmentally friendly manner, but the simplest and most often overlooked is that of helping our local resources stay solvent. By doing so, we make an investment in the local economy and in the lives of all of us who live here.

Everyone makes choices. Of course, some of us have more ability to do that than others. However, whenever it is possible to buy produce from the nearby farmer, to purchase books from our neighborhood bookseller, to shop at the market that is owned by the people and supports area farms, and to purchase the news from our trusted local news source, that is always the way to go.

Whether you like to read your news digitally or, like me, with a newspaper in hand, paying for it is essential. I want to know what is happening in my neighborhood as well as in the larger world. The Valley News is the best resource I have to stay connected to both.

JUDY McCARTHY

Grantham

Freedom isn’t cheap

In reference to Valley News Editor Maggie Cassidy’s May 4 column (“We’re counting on you to support what you value”): You go, Maggie!

I’m happy to pay for my subscription to the Valley News at a rate that is less than one restaurant meal a month. The alternative is the reality of truly fake news.

In Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe, a searing critique of Facebook, Roger McNamee states that, “the space of true things is fixed, while the space of falsehoods can expand freely in any direction — false outcompetes true,” particularly on Facebook and the internet.

Those readers who object to having to pay for online news coverage by responsible journalists must consider the price of freedom to be cheap. How can they ignore the demonstrated Russian subversion of online news?

These same advocates of “free” news probably use ad-blocking in their browsers. They accept as inevitable the dystopian hegemony of Orwell’s Newspeak: “Ignorance Is Strength.”

BILL SECORD

West Lebanon

52-year subscriber is thankful

I have been a subscriber to the Valley News since 1967 (52 years, but who is counting?). When I am away from the Upper Valley, I read the newspaper online.

Editor Maggie Cassidy has brought new life to the paper, for which readers should be thankful. I wish there was a way to give a sample copy to each elementary, middle school and high school student from Springfield to Randolph.

JON APPLETON

White River Junction