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Renovated Hampstead mental health facility will soon open to young patients in NH

Gov. Chris Sununu, Hampstead Hospital CEO Kathi Collins and interim Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Weaver tour the newly renovated East Acres at Hampstead campus on May 26.
Josh Rogers
/
NHPR
Gov. Chris Sununu, Hampstead Hospital CEO Kathi Collins and interim Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Weaver tour the newly renovated East Acres at Hampstead campus on May 26.

The renovated Hampstead Hospital, now called East Acres at Hampstead and set up to provide psychiatric care for children, is expected to open to patients next week.

The state purchased the hospital with federal aid. State health officials said the 12-bed facility is expected to welcome its first overnight patients Tuesday. It's meant to provide high-level mental heath care that young patients would otherwise need to travel out of state to receive.

While celebrating the launch of the new hospital, Gov. Chris Sununu acknowledged there's still work to do to improve the state's mental health system.

"It doesn't matter how much money you make, what color you are, whether you are male or female, it doesn't matter," Sununu said. "It can happen to anybody, at any time, at any time of the day, and so as a state, we just need to be sure these types of services are available."

The new facility's expected to alleviate the number of patients waiting in ERs for psychiatric care. The state recently announced plans to end that practice within two years, after a federal judge said they needed to do so in one year.

On Friday, Sununu said he's not sure the court's timeline is realistic but the state will work to comply.

As of May 26, 15 children were waiting for psychiatric care in New Hampshire, according to a state dashboard, while 15 beds were unavailable due to renovations and 16 due to staffing.