Public forum to address homelessness, mental health, substance abuse

Concord Coalition to End Homelessness executive director Ellen Groh stands in the interior of the new winter homeless shelter on North Main Street on Friday, March 9, 2018. The shelter will house 40 beds and is due to be finished by the end of this month. GEOFF FORESTER
Concord Coalition to End Homelessness executive director Ellen Groh stands in the interior of the new winter homeless shelter on North Main Street on Friday, March 9, 2018. The shelter will house 40 beds and is due to be finished by the end of this month. GEOFF FORESTER
Peter Evers, CEO of Riverbend Community Health, talks Thursday about the effect of dwindling mental health resources in the community and the impact it has on places like Concord Hospital.  Elodie Reed
Peter Evers, CEO of Riverbend Community Health, talks Thursday about the effect of dwindling mental health resources in the community and the impact it has on places like Concord Hospital. Elodie Reed

The Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce invites members and the public to a luncheon forum next Thursday, Dec. 12, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at Holiday Inn, 172 N. Main St., Concord. A panel of experts will discuss the related issues of homelessness, mental health, substance misuse and public safety. Attendees will learn what strategies are being used to combat this connected crisis, and what actions community members can take to face these challenges. This impactful forum is generously sponsored by Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Featured panelists include Peter Evers, Riverbend Community Mental Health; Ellen Groh, Concord Coalition to End Homelessness; Dr. Carolyn Kerrigan, Dartmouth-Hitchcock; Chief Bradley Osgood, Concord Police Department; and Jeffrey Stewart, Concord’s Project FIRST director.

Stewart is a new addition to the City of Concord’s team of professionals focused on addressing these urgent issues. He is the city’s first substance misuse interventionist, and director of Project FIRST, a grant-funded program established this year. Project FIRST focuses efforts on educating community members and first responders on the facts of substance misuse disorder, provides tools that prevent substance overdose fatalities, facilitates communication between various agencies and organizations to place individuals in appropriate treatment, and establishes sustainable solutions that can continue to serve the Greater Concord community after the initial grant funding has ended. Although Project FIRST’s focus is on the substance misuse crisis, it serves as an intermediary between local agencies and organizations, represented by the forum’s other featured panelists.

The forum’s discussion will include insight into the medical aspects of substance misuse disorder. Kerrigan, representing Dartmouth-Hitchcock, and Evers, representing Riverbend, will discuss both emergency care and long-term treatment options for individuals suffering from substance misuse disorder.

Groh, of Concord Coalition to End Homelessness, and Osgood, of the Concord Police Department, will discuss the ripple effects of substance misuse and poverty, which can result in homelessness and crime. These complex issues affect business, health care, law enforcement, city services, schools and families in the Greater Concord community.

“A Connected Crisis – Addressing the issues of homelessness, mental health, substance misuse and public safety,” takes place on Thursday, Dec. 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Concord. Pre-register at ConcordNHChamber.com (required to attend); $25 for Chamber members, $35 for non-members (includes lunch). Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions during a Q&A session to follow the panel discussion. For more information, please contact the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce at 224-2508, events@concordnhchamber.com, or visit the Chamber’s website, concordnhchamber.com.

Emily MarshGreater Concord Chamber of Commerce

Author: Insider Staff

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