On Wednesday morning, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, in partnership with many partners including New Futures and NAMI-NH, hosted a forum for New Hampshire business leaders and industry professionals entitled: “The Real Cost to Business: The Mental Health and Addiction Crisis.” The Mara Auditorium at SNHU was at capacity, illustrating how wide-reaching concerns regarding mental health disorders and co-occuring addiction permeate throughout every sector of our communities.
This forum was presented as an opportunity to explore the challenges employers face in addressing behavioral health issues in the workplace. It emphasized the importance of supporting employees grappling with mental health issues and the stigma associated with them. Opening remarks were led by NH Governor Chris Sununu, who addressed the large crowd in an upbeat and positive manner. From his energetic speech it was easy to see that he felt that NH could make many positive strides and lead the nation in supporting people who are suffering from addiction. By the end of his remarks the crowd seemed inspired and “603-pride” filled the room.
“Prevention is a key component in the
#OpioidCrisis, as is reducing #MentalHealth stigma and increasing treatment options,” said Sununu. He went on to speak about how continuing prevention efforts is such an important focus, to reduce the amount of kids who will ever reach the point where they struggle with addiction in the first place.
“Everyone has their own path, everyone has their own story, everyone is going to find their own path out of this,” Sununu said. “None of this gets solved without prevention.”
In addition to his remarks and call to action for NH businesses, he discussed early successes with his latest initiative, Recovery Friendly Workplaces. Much more on that here.
Following Sununu, a morning of discussion ensued with excellent speakers, including an uplifting story from Badger Balm about their experience in supporting all workers and the great successes they have had with their business model. Two engaging panel discussions moderated by John Broderick, (“Behavioral Health Challenges & Opportunities in the Workplace”) and Dr. Seddon Savage (“Transforming Workplace Culture to Support All Workers”) included 4 panelists on each — many of whom we are fortunate to know as colleagues and friends. The panelists spoke with eloquence, empathy and knowledge about their areas of expertise on mental health and addiction, often sharing personal stories of triumph over their own challenges, and the need to support ALL people of NH to have access to help … as one would for any physical illness.
The goal of this forum was for the audience to depart with ideas around best practices and insights to consider as they develop and further their channels to support and assist employees. Kudos to Dartmouth-Hitchcock and their partners on a well-executed and informative forum. We look forward to assisting in prevention efforts, and supporting what comes next in this ever-changing work landscape to build a strong culture of health which aligns with business goals and ensures success in a competitive business environment.