Dover Mental Health Alliance aims to create a mental health friendly city

Fosters Daily Democrat
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DOVER – The Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce recently held a ribbon cutting to welcome the Dover Mental Health Alliance as a valued Chamber member.

The Dover Mental Health Alliance envisions a culture that embraces and addresses the complexities of mental health in Dover. Its mission is to build a resilient community that is educated, responsive and conscious of the impact of mental illness.

The Dover Mental Health Alliance, or DMHA, began in 2019 after a community summit of city stakeholders across all business and service sectors discussed the need to bring mental health awareness, education and suicide prevention to a deeper level of understanding within the community.

“This is not a school issue, nor a hospital or community mental health issue to solve. This is a community issue to own,” said Suzanne Weete of the DMHA.

The DMHA was formed with a collective goal to educate all community members to understand what mental illness is, what it isn’t, and to eliminate stigma so that people will speak up and ask for the help they need without feeling shame or discrimination.

“We need to recognize that mental health is just as important as physical health,” Weete said. “Each and every one of us lives with mental health. We all have ups and downs in life. Becoming a member of the Dover Chamber of Commerce is a huge step for us so that we can connect more directly with other chamber members to help them achieve a greater sense of mental well-being within the workplace.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depression causes an estimated 200 million lost work days each year at the cost of $17 billion to $44 billion to employers.    

Through the collective work of the group’s members, the DMHA has built a strategic model to work with large and small businesses, non-profit organizations, civic leadership, faith organizations, first responders and law enforcement to begin to create a culture shift recognizing that it is OK to not be OK, and that help and hope is available.Read Local.As a subscriber, you will enjoy unlimited access to the news and information important to the community.Learn more

“When we open our hearts with compassion and understand a little more about mental health and its challenges, we start to normalize the conversation about our mental health, just like we do already our physical health,” Weete said. “We begin to understand that we can actually make a difference in our own or someone else’s life. This empowers us to know that we are not alone, that help is available and recovery is not only possible, but probable.”

Through a grant from Connections for Health, the DMHA is offering free Mental Health First Aid, a first-aid-type course that teaches people how to recognize and respond to someone in emotional distress. DMHA is also affiliated with several Master Ace Trainers, who are fanned out in the Seacoast region delivering adverse childhood experience (ACE) training. Partnerships with the Recovery Friendly Workplace initiative, SOS, NAMI NH, the Dover School District and the Dover Rotary to name a few have furthered the DMHA’s impact, bringing about community mental health education and suicide prevention programs with the eventual goal of recognizing Dover as a mental health friendly city, a first of its kind in New Hampshire.  

The Dover Mental Health Alliance is part of the local, Strafford County non-profit community mental health center, Community Partners. For more information about Community Partners, go to For more information about the Dover Mental Health Alliance and upcoming trainings, visit, or email Suzanne Weete at

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