To the editor:

At the organization I work for, every single child we advocate for has suffered some degree of trauma, often as a result of the child’s parents substance abuse.

The child’s mental health is challenged by a history of complex trauma including neglect, abuse and violence; frequently changing situations and transitions; broken family relationships; and inconsistent and inadequate access to behavioral health care.

Without proper behavioral health supports and services, exposure to adverse childhood experiences can create toxic stress, interfering with healthy development, and making it very difficult to function as happy, productive adults, continuing the cycle of poverty and dependence.

But children can be very resilient. With a broad array of care aimed to address their physical, emotional, social and educational needs, they can recover and break that cycle.

I urge lawmakers to invest in a fully funded children’s system of care, including mobile crisis and other community-based services.

Children’s mental health conditions are not a phase or a quick fix. They are for many a life-long condition that deserves accessible support systems and long-term treatment plans.

Children’s mental illnesses are serious, and we need our lawmakers to start treating them as such.

New Hampshire youth need support and services that promote positive youth development, recovery and resilience.

Warren Morrison

Salem, N.H.

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