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REACT Cards Changing Stigma of Mental Illness

Published Wednesday Jan 23, 2019

REACT Cards Changing Stigma of Mental Illness

Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) in Hanover and Northeast Delta Dental in Concord are collaborating with the NH Police Association to make substance misuse and mental health “REACT” cards available to law enforcement officers around the state who encounter citizens in need of mental health and substance misuse services.

REACT focuses attention on changing the stigma of mental illness. D-H and the NH Department of Education created  REACT in 2018 to offer tips, resources, and support to deal with the five signs of emotional suffering: agitation, personality change, poor self-care, withdrawal, and hopelessness. Originally created for use in schools, REACT is an acronym to:

  • Recognize the signs,
  • Express concern,
  • Act now and talk to someone you trust,
  • Care enough to follow through and follow up, and
  • Text “signs” to 741-741.

“These REACT cards will be a great tool, because they contain succinct contact information on where mental health and substance misuse services can be found,” says Londonderry Police Captain Patrick Cheetham, speaking for the NH Police Association. “Directing people to the help they need when they need it will ease a lot of suffering and keep officers safer. Everyone wins."

The REACT resource cards will be available at all State Police barracks throughout NH, as well as at the police stations in Londonderry, Manchester, and Concord and at Riverbend Community Mental Health’s offices in Concord. They will most often be used by police in the field, however.

NH Public Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes echoed his support, “These cards fill a real need for our officers in the field. They are a welcomed resource and we are grateful to have them,” Barthelmes said.

John Broderick, senior director of external affairs at D-H and former Chief Justice of the NH Supreme Court, said the cards were a valuable next step to Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s statewide campaign to increase knowledge and awareness around mental health and to reduce stigma.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to help the police and many New Hampshire residents who might not know where to look for help,” Broderick says.

Tom Raffio, CEO of Northeast Delta Dental, says he and his company are proud to be a part of the initiative. “Mental health, like oral health, is an important part of overall health, and our police officers often encounter people in need of mental health and substance misuse services who don’t know where to turn.”

Pictured from left to right:  Deputy Concord Fire Chief Aaron McIntire; NH Department of Safety Mental Health & Wellness Coordinator Major Russell Conte; Commander, NH State Police Field Operations Bureau Major John Encarnacao; Immediate Past President of the NH Police Association and Londonderry Police Captain, Patrick Cheetham; Northeast Delta Dental President & CEO Tom Raffio; Senior Director of External Affairs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Former NH Supreme Court Justice, John T. Broderick, Jr.; President and CEO of Riverbend Community Mental Health, Peter Evers, LICSW; Chief of the Concord Police Department, Bradley Osgood, and Concord Police Sergeant, Timothy King.

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