During the Coronavirus Pandemic
New Hampshire Mental Health Peer Alliance empowers peers to educate and advocate for equal rights and a recovery-based mental health system. We enable peers to participate and exercise leadership in regional and statewide forums. We reach out to mental health professionals, legislators, government officials and the general public to realize our goals.
The NH Mental Health Peer Alliance began as the NH Mental Health Consumer Council as an organiztion of activism and advocacy. Through the years, we pushed for progressive dialogue around mental health issues and legislation. We are people who laws are written about and for whom services are provided. It is of the utmost importance that our voices come first in these matters. With this progressive history in mind, it has come time to address the term “consumer” to refer to individuals with mental health lived experience.
There was a time when the term “consumer” had powerful meaning. As individuals who often had services enacted on us, it gave us the view that we were in the driver’s seat of our lives—choosing to receive and consume mental health services voluntarily, without coercion. In light of what we’ve come to know since this term was adopted, we now acknowledge that it no longer suffices to describe our experiences as unique individuals. We are not merely consumers seeking endless care. We are people living our lives—having relationships and families, working towards our goals, creating art, being vibrant and making our dreams a reality.
We have come to the decision that the term “peer” speaks to our diversity of experience. With this in mind, we now adopt the name “New Hampshire Mental Health Peer Alliance” to replace “Mental Health Consumer Council.” As people with lived experience, we aim to drive the future development of mental-health services and human rights in New Hampshire. We hope that this name change brings increased interest and activity in achieving these goals.
We look forward to the future of this Alliance and to the work we will do together.