Sununu deserves praise

Recently, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services finalized an ambitious 10-year plan to rebuild our state’s mental health system, and Gov. Chris Sununu deserves applause for wasting no time getting to work on its recommendations.

The governor’s budget proposal provides critical funding for the construction of a state forensic hospital. This will address concerns of civilly committed psychiatric patients being inappropriately housed in the Secure Psychiatric Unit at the Men’s Prison, as well as long-term boarding of psychiatric patients in hospital emergency departments.

Children’s inpatient care will move from the New Hampshire Hospital to a more appropriate treatment setting focused on their specific needs under Sununu’s budget. It also earmarks funding for additional transitional housing, which will provide a “step down” for psychiatric patients to ease transition back into the community and free up inpatient beds.

Gov. Sununu proposes large-scale investments in mental health care at every level, with an eye toward ensuring psychiatric patients are in the right environments to receive care. Being the parent of a child who has struggled with his mental health, I can state from experience that Gov. Sununu’s budget takes giant steps toward fixing the challenges our state faces in mental health treatment.