Doing Good NH: Mind Your Health

Every time I interview someone for this blog, I learn more and more about the community and the amazing work that so many do behind the scenes-this week is no different. In honor of May being National Mental Health Month I took the opportunity to interview Kristen Welch, the Director of Development and Communications for Genesis Behavioral Health.  

Kristen is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but fell in love with NH while attending UNH. Kristen still lives on the Seacoast but loves her job so much she doesn’t mind her commute to the beautiful Lakes Region each day. Not only does Kristen work in Laconia but she is also the Vice President of the Laconia Rotary.

Kristen says, “ I love meeting people in this close knit and supportive community, networking and advocating for mental health and people with mental illness…..It’s such an amazing thing to be involved with an organization that makes a huge difference, not only in the lives of our individuals patients, but for the community as well. It’s work that is often silent and unrecognized, but it’s so important to our community’s health and well-being.”

Here are several facts that you should know:

  • The reduced access to mental health care leads to increased demand on many of the systems in our community, including emergency rooms, law enforcement, first responders, courts, corrections, schools and municipalities.
  • The economic cost of untreated mental illness is more than 100 billion dollars each year in the United States. (National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2011)
  • 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children will experience a mental health disorder in a given year. (approx: 254,0000 NH residents)
  • Genesis serves over 3,000 patients of all ages each year.
  • Genesis not only works with those with mental illness, they also provide short-term counseling for individuals experiencing a life event such as divorce, death of a loved one, or job loss.
  • Genesis accepts private insurance and Medicaid. Emergency services are provided 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health crisis. If you are in need of emergency services please call 603-524-1100
  • Genesis works with local schools, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals.

Want to make a difference and just don’t know how? Well here is your chance!!!

To Volunteer:

Genesis is currently looking for board members or advocates. To volunteer email Kristen at kwelch@genesisbh.org

To Donate:

As a community mental health center, Genesis is mandated to provide emergency care to anyone regardless of their ability to pay or insurance status – and as a result, this program incurs a deficit of nearly half a million dollars each year. Donations are greatly appreciated and help support programs and services for those who cannot afford treatment. Administrative costs are approximately 10% of the agency’s budget. Readers can make a tax deductible donation to Genesis Behavioral Health, Attn:  Kristen Welch 111 Church Street Laconia, NH 03246 or you can donate directly on the website using pay pal at www.genesisbh.org

Save the Date:

This month is Mental Health Month which was started 64 years ago! The 2014 theme is “Mind Your Health”. The week of May 19th all of the Salmon Press newspapers will be highlighting the role of mental health  in our community. Tuesday May 20th Genesis will hold a forum at the Plymouth State University Ice Arena Welcome Center and on Wednesday May 21st at the Historic Belknap Mill. The next big fundraiser will in October and will be an online silent auction!

Want to know more?!?! You can visit the website www.genesisbh.org and sign up for the e-newsletter, you can visit them on Facebook, or  tweet them at @GenesisBHNH.

There are so many wonderful people and agencies making a difference in our own back yards! If you would like me to feature your non profit agency or know of an amazing NH professional giving back let me know by emailing doinggood@stayworkplay.org

“By learning more about mental illness and getting involved, we can work together to create a healthy, vibrant community for us all!” -Kristen Welch

Until Next Time-Do Good NH!

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