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

Two COVID-19 vaccine clinics held for kids 12-15 years old in Strafford County

By: Kristen Carosa
May 15, 2021

Read the Full article on WMUR9


Two large COVID-19 vaccination clinics were held Saturday in Strafford County for kids 12 to 15 years old.

The Stafford County Public Health Network held a vaccine clinic at Rochester Middle School and one in Durham and they say the response was much larger than they anticipated.Advertisement

Ashley Desrochers with the Strafford Public Health Network said more than 1,800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were given to students.

“This is more of a response than we had for the 16-to-18-year olds,” Desrochers said.

All families with children in this age group were encouraged to come to make sure they could get the vaccine before summer starts.

“We were really trying to make sure that we could offer it before the end of the year but also not disrupt their testing time and all of the things that happen at the end of the year,” Desrochers said.

She said the vaccine is safe and effective and it’s important for kids in this age group to get it when they can.

“If you have those long hauler symptoms and that can affect kids ability to play sports, so there are a lot of things that can happen when you get sick with COVID-19,” Desrochers said.

She said getting the vaccine is just the first step back to normalcy and recommends all families take the time to talk with their kids about how the pandemic is impacting them.

“We really want to make sure that everyone knows the vaccine isn’t the only recovery part of this and there are other things that we are really anticipating getting worse, so we are here for that,” Desrochers said.

The public health network won’t be holding any other large clinics but they will arrange some smaller ones at food pantries and churches in the coming months.

NH health experts answer your COVID vaccine FAQs

Do I Still Need To Wear A Mask? NH Health Experts Answer Your COVID Vaccine FAQs

By: Karen Dandurant
Published in Seacoast Online on 5/11/2021
Read the full article on Seacoast Online

Why Should I Get The Vaccine?
When you are fully vaccinated, you are protected from getting very sick or dying from COVID-19. Another benefit is that when you are fully vaccinated, you don’t have to quarantine if you come into contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19.

Get the vaccine to protect yourself, your co-workers, your family, and your community.

Vaccination protects you from acquiring COVID-19 infection and from becoming severely ill if you do develop COVID-19 infection. It protects those around you who cannot be vaccinated (children, those with allergic reactions, etc.) at this time. It protects those around you who could become severely ill or die from COVID-19 infection due to underlying medical conditions. It protects the health care system from overload and helps prevent the economy from further damage due to the pandemic.

Your altruistic decision could save your life, the life of someone you love, or a complete stranger who is loved by others. It is normal to feel uneasy or unsure about getting a new vaccine. But the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine and helping to end the pandemic far outweigh the risks.

Can The CDC Mandate That I Get A COVID-19 Vaccine?
No. The federal government does not require vaccination for people. Also, CDC does not maintain or monitor a person’s vaccination record.

What Does It Mean To Be Fully Vaccinated?
A person is fully vaccinated two weeks after their second Pfizer or Moderna shot, or two weeks after their single Johnson & Johnson shot. A person is not fully vaccinated if they only got one Pfizer or Moderna shot.

Should I Feel Safe With Vaccinations For Children 12 To 15, Or Younger?
Scientists studied COVID-19 vaccines in children specifically to see if they were safe and if they worked in that age group. Vaccines only get approved if clinical trials show that they are safe and effective. The safety and efficacy has been extensively tested in this age group with tens of thousands of study volunteers, and is also predicated on the millions of adult doses already safely administered.

The studies suggest very good efficacy and robust antibody responses in those 12-15 years of age and doctors say they feel confident in the FDA review process and in the transparency in the data.

How Sick Will I Get With The Second Shot Of Pfizer Or Moderna?
Different people react differently to COVID-19 vaccines, and side effects are a normal part of getting vaccinated. Most people will get a sore arm or feel a little bit tired. Some people will get a fever, chills, a headache, or muscle aches, but side effects go away within a day or so. Some people get no side effects at all. It’s a good idea to drink lots of water and rest the day after your second shot.

The recipient’s reaction to the vaccine comes as the body mounts its immune response and learns how to respond to the actual disease. All of these varied responses are normal and mean that your body is building protection. The second shot may cause a more robust response, because the body has started developing the antibodies to fight it.

More than 250 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given to close to 150 million Americans, with that number increasing every day. The rate of serious side effects has been reported as less than 0.005 percent (fewer than 5 out of 100,000), and anaphylaxis specifically has been reported in less than 0.0005 percent (fewer than 5 out of 1 million).

If I Am Vaccinated; Do I Still Need To Wear A Mask?
All people should wear a mask when they are indoors in public, like at the grocery store, at work, or at the gym. When you are fully vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask when you are visiting with other fully vaccinated people or if you’re dining outdoors.

The vaccines are not 100% effective and vaccinated individuals have developed COVID-19. Although unlikely, some vaccinated individuals could develop infection, and although their individual symptoms would be mild or non-existent, transmission to another is possible.

Fully vaccinated people can visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing, visit with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing, participate in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues, walk, run, or bike outdoors with members of your household without a mask, resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel, refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States, refrain from testing or quarantine following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings.

If We Do Not Reach Herd Immunity, Will This Virus Just Keep Coming Back?
People who are unvaccinated can get infected with COVID-19 , so it is important to get as many people vaccinated as possible. If more people are protected in a population, the COVID-19 virus will have less chance to mutate into a variant while infecting someone. Even if the virus never goes away, we are safer when more people are vaccinated.

If we do not reach herd immunity, the virus will never really leave.

New variants emerge that could potentially make vaccines less effective. If more virus is circulating, due to insufficient vaccination rates, then new strains can emerge leading to additional waves of this pandemic.

Does The Shot Hurt?
Shots can hurt a little bit, but they are over quickly. Injection site pain is common with COVID-19 vaccination but generally does not last more than a day or two. Doctors equated it to the flu shot.

Are Cases Reaching A Positive Tipping Point?
Cases in New Hampshire and in the United States continue to decline. However, we might see “hot spots” of cases, where there is an increase in infections in one place. It’s important for everyone to keep doing normal prevention measures, like wearing a mask in public and getting fully vaccinated.

“No one is safe until everyone is safe.” This applies to our collective vulnerability, locally and globally. COVID-19 cases continue to rise globally. The future trend will likely depend heavily on vaccine rollout in many countries.

I Have Been Vaccinated. Can I Safely Go Out To A Restaurant Or A Bar, And Eat And Drink Inside?
We are waiting for more evidence to say that it is safe for vaccinated people to eat indoors or visit a bar without wearing masks. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people should wear masks when they are indoors in public. Dining outside is a great way for everyone to support the local community while staying safe.

One should check to see if the restaurant is following recommended guidelines such as requiring a mask be worn by customers and staff; social distancing of 6 feet is maintained, tables are spaced 6 feet apart. Keep in mind that masks may reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread when they are consistently used by customers. There is no zero-risk scenario.

Is There Anything I Should/Should Not Do Before Or After The Vaccine?
Don’t take any pain relievers (Tylenol, Advil, etc.) before your shot. It’s OK to take pain relievers after your shot. Drink lots of water after your shot and plan some time to rest. Some experts say to avoid alcohol for 2 to 3 days, because heavy alcohol consumption can make the immune system react less strongly and make side effects feel worse.

Wait at least 14 days after your COVID-19 vaccine before getting any other vaccine, including a flu or shingles vaccine. Or if you have recently received any other vaccine first, wait at least 14 days before getting your COVID-19 vaccine.

Is It Safe To Travel?
It is safer for vaccinated people to travel, and it is safer to travel inside the country than internationally. It’s also safer to travel in a private car than on public transit. Because not everyone in the country is vaccinated, mass travel is discouraged.

If you are going to travel, take precautions. Wear a mask while travelling, especially on public transit like buses or airplanes. When you are on a plane, you should keep your mask on all the time, and you should limit eating and drinking. Follow recommendations about social distancing.

CDC recommends delaying travel until you are able to get fully vaccinated. International travel poses additional risks due to possible viral variants. It is important to check the restrictions and requirements regarding COVID-19 testing and quarantine for your destination and your place of return before you travel.

National Suicide Prevention Week

September 10th-16th is National Suicide Prevention Week. Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States, and the number of suicides has been steadily increasing since 2000. In 2016, there were more than twice as many suicides as there were murders in the United States. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10-34.


Who is affected?

Everyone is at risk for mental illness and suicide. There are many factors that play an important role in suicide risk. People who live with mental health and substance use disorders are at a higher risk for suicide, as well as those who are experiencing a lot of stress or hard experiences in their lives. Although anyone can be at risk for suicide, middle aged white men have the highest rates of dying by suicide.


What are some warning signs?

Suicide has no specific single cause. There are many risks that can lead to suicide. However, some warning signs include:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless, trapped, or feeling like a burden to others
  • Increasing use of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Isolation from family/friends
  • Withdrawing from social activities
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Too little or too much sleep


What can I do to help?

If you are worried that someone you know may be experiencing emotional crisis or suicidal thoughts, there are many steps you can take to help.

If you believe that a person is in immediate danger of suicide, call 911 or contact a medical professional right away.

If the person is not in immediate danger of ending their life, you can start a conversation and talk about your concerns. There is a lot of stigma around suicide, so it is helpful to talk to the person with an open mind and concern for their health without minimizing their problems or shaming the person for feeling suicidal.

You can give emotional support and a trustworthy relationship where the person can feel comfortable talking about their feelings.

If you don’t know how to start the conversation, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 can help you figure out how to help a friend or loved one. You do not need to be suicidal to call them to ask for help. The lifeline also gives support for suicidal people, so you can help your friend or loved one to call the phone number.


National Diabetes Awareness Month

There are few diseases that affect as many Americans as diabetes. In fact, 1 in 11 Americans has diabetes, but 25% of those with diabetes don’t know they have it. During National Diabetes Month, the nation comes together to spread the word about diabetes.


What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a long-lasting disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. According to the CDC, “Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.

If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream, which over time can cause serious health problems…”


What are the types of diabetes?

There are three types of diabetes.

Type 1 happens when the body accidentally attacks the liver and stops the body from making insulin. It is usually diagnosed in children and teens. There is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 happens when the body can’s use insulin very well and can’t keep blood sugar at normal levels. It is usually diagnosed in adults. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by getting to or staying at a healthy weight, eating healthy foods, and exercising.

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that can develop in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. It usually goes away after the baby is born.


What are the health effects of diabetes?

Diabetes was the seventh leading case of death in the US in 2015. This is because diabetes can affect many different parts of the body.

People with diabetes are 2 times more likely to die of a heart attack than people without diabetes.

Diabetes can also damage the kidneys and make them unable to filter waste. If the kidneys fail, a person must use dialysis (a blood filtering machine).

Having high blood sugar for a long time can damage the blood vessels that feed nerves. This damage to the nerves can feel like numbness, pain, and weakness arms, hands, legs, and feet. When a person has foot numbness, it is much easier to damage the feet and can lead to amputation of a toe, foot, or leg.

The eyes can be affected by diabetes. High blood sugar can make blood vessels in the eyes swell and leak in the eye, which causes blurry vision and sometimes blindness.


How do I know if I have (or I am at risk for) diabetes?

To find out if you are at risk for diabetes or prediabetes, take the Prediabetes Risk Test HERE. Only your doctor or medical professional can say for sure if you have diabetes. If you believe you may be at risk, ask your medical professional for tests to determine if you have diabetes.



World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week is August 1st to August 7th, 2018. This week promotes the universal benefits of breastfeeding and encourages mothers to feed their children breastmilk and connect with resources to support their breastfeeding efforts. Visit the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action to learn more about the efforts to encourage breastfeeding.


Why is breastfeeding important?

Breastfeeding gives babies all of the nutrients that they need, which prevents malnutrition. It ensures that babies have food security, even in times of crisis like during a natural disaster. Breast milk carries antibodies from the mother to the baby which keeps the baby healthy from disease.


What resources are available for nursing mothers?

The La Leche League of Maine and New Hampshire provides education, encouragement, and community to breastfeeding mothers in Maine and New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Breastfeeding Taskforce has a resource guide that lists many sources of support for nursing mothers about different aspects of breastfeeding. The federal Women’s Health website has a full brochure on how to breastfeed and the problems that someone may run into.


How can I support breastfeeding efforts?

Encourage your workplace to have policies that allow women to breastfeed or to pump milk when they return from maternity leave. You can also support an organization that assists women with breastfeeding.


National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. In the United States, about 1 in 6 children has obesity and 1 in 3 is overweight or obese. Obesity is a serious health condition that has no simple solution, but everyone can help work towards ending obesity.

Why is childhood obesity important?

The rate of childhood obesity is more than 4 times higher than it was four decades ago. People with obesity are at risk for type 2 diabetes, asthma, bone and joint problems, and sleep apnea. Also, children with obesity are more likely to have obesity as adults.

What influences childhood obesity?

There are many things that can contribute to childhood obesity. These can include eating and exercise, genetics, home environment, and community factors. For many children, these are large factors for obesity:

  • too much time spent being inactive
  • lack of sleep
  • lack of places to go in the community to get physical activity
  • easy access to inexpensive, high calorie foods and sugary beverages
  • lack of access to affordable, healthier foods

How can I help childhood obesity?

There are many things that you can do to help a child have a healthy weight. These can include:

  • Giving a child healthy, lower calorie foods like fruits and vegetables and avoiding sugary drinks.
  • Joining a child in fun physical activity. This could be a walk around the neighborhood, a sports game in a park, or even fun dances inside of a house. The possibilities are endless!
  • Talk with the child’s healthcare professional about their weight and strategies to keep a child healthy.


National Immunization Awareness Month

August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Immunizations, also knows as vaccines or shots, are one of the greatest public health successes of the 20th century. Vaccines give parents the power to protect their children from serious diseases. One of the most important things a parent can do to protect their child’s health is to get their child vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule. There are vaccines that people should get when they are babies, children, teenagers, and when they are adults.

Why are vaccines important?

Vaccines give parents the safe, proven power to protect their children from 14 serious diseases. Vaccinating your children according to the recommended schedule is one of the best ways you can protect them from harmful and even deadly diseases like measles and whooping cough (pertussis). Also, thousands of adults in the U.S. become ill even die from infectious diseases like the flu that could be prevented by vaccines.

Are these diseases still a problem?

Many vaccine-preventable diseases are still common in many parts of the world. For example, measles is brought into the United States by unvaccinated travelers who are infected while in other countries. The CDC estimates that the flu has caused over 10 million illnesses, up to 700,000 hospitalizations, and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths every year since 2010.


Are vaccines safe?

Vaccines are very safe. Vaccines are thoroughly tested before they are used on patients, and carefully monitored after they are used, to look for any rare safety risks. Side effects from vaccines are usually mild and temporary. There are national systems that doctors use to track any side effects and monitor the safety of vaccines.


When do I need a vaccine?

Vaccinations happen at different times during your life. They are not only for small children, adults need some as well. For children and teens, most parents (9/10) choose to vaccinate their children according to the recommended immunization schedule. For adults, the CDC’s vaccine quiz can help you figure out what immunization you need at your age. The CDC’s childhood immunization schedule can be found here The adult immunization schedule can be found here




This post adapted from the National Immunization Awareness Month 2018 Toolkit.

National Night Out 2018

National Night Out is “an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.”

Dover will be hosting their National Night Out on Tuesday, August 7th from 4:30-7:30 pm in Henry Law Park. For more information, click here.

Rochester will be hosting their National Night Out on Tuesday, August 7th from 5:30-8:30 pm at the Rochester Commons. For more information, visit the Facebook Event or the Rochester Town Website.

Somersworth will be hosting their National Night Out on Tuesday, August 7th from 5:30-7:30 pm in the Jules Bisson Park. For more information, visit the Facebook Event.


Avoiding Tick Bites

Tick season starts in April and goes through the summer until September. Right when the weather warms and it’s easier to be active outside, the risk of tick bites is the highest. These parasites can carry serious diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. It is important to protect yourself from ticks when going outside.

Where do ticks live?

Ticks are most common in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas. Ticks can also ride on wild animals and pets. Spending time hiking, hunting, gardening, walking a dog, or other outside activities can put you in contact with ticks.

How do I prevent tick bites?

Avoid areas that are especially grassy or brushy. When you go outside, apply an EPA registered insect repellant containing DEET or another effective chemical to clothes. Wear long sleeves and pants, and treat frequently worn outdoor clothing items with permethrin.

How do I protect myself after being outside?

When you come inside, check your clothing for ticks and send items through the dryer on high heat. Taking a shower as soon as possible has been shown to reduce the likelihood of getting a tickborne illness. Also make sure to check your body for attached ticks.

How do I do a body check for ticks?

After coming inside, check your entire body for ticks. Use a handheld mirror to look at hard to reach spaces. Ticks frequently appear under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, on the back of the knees, in and around the hair, between the legs, and around the waist. Make sure to check any children for ticks as well.

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