Community Dialogue hosted at Manchester Center
May 30, 2019
The Granite State News Collaborative (GSNC) convened a community conversation about the state’s mental health and substance abuse crises at Franklin Pierce University’s Manchester Center on Wednesday, May 22. More than 60 people attended “Solutions from the Frontlines: A community behavioral health conversation,” including consumers of the state’s mental health and treatment programs, mental health service providers, journalists and lawmakers.
GSNC is a statewide multimedia news collaborative whose partners work together to add dimension and depth to reporting on issues of concern to the New Hampshire public as a whole, and to individual communities. The collaborative’s first project is to amplify solutions-focused stories about behavioral health issues in NH, with a goal of building public trust and holding government accountable.
The conversation began with five speakers who shared deeply personal stories about navigating the state’s mental health system, battling addiction, working in recovery services, wrestling with anxiety and suicidal thoughts, and supporting mental health workers. In small groups and panel discussions, participants welcomed the open dialogue and spirit of compassionate and respectful cooperation among stakeholders.
The Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication is a founding partner of the collaborative. Other partners include NH Public Broadcasting Service, the Nashua Telegraph, the Keene Sentinel, the Eagle-Tribune, Seacoast Media Group, the NH Business Review, NH Bar News, Business NH Magazine, Manchester Ink Link, the Berlin Daily Sun and Laconia Daily Sun. The Pierce Media Group live-streamed the event from the Manchester Center, and participates as an associate partner in the collaborative.
Kristen Nevious, Director of the Fitzwater Center, said, “The evening’s vibrant conversation was a decisive demonstration that the collaborative’s commitment to bringing stakeholders together to discuss the Granite State’s most pressing issues is, in and of itself, a critical part of the solution. The collaborative is equally committed to including student journalists like those in the Pierce Media Group in these conversations as they prepare to take on incredibly demanding roles in our democracy.”
Funding for GSNC is currently provided by The Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit organization that trains and encourages journalists to cover solutions to issues that drive the news of the day.