To Our Good Mental Health

March 2024

Together, We're Better

Since joining West Central Behavioral Health last May, I’ve noticed that for most of us, employees, donors, and community members, a commitment to good mental health is personal. I’ve seen this commitment translated into generous donations and a powerful work ethic. Your support of West Central is vital and appreciated. Thank you.

This month, the newsletter focuses on advocacy and we are asking you to think about the ways in which you can help to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. Our vision is for the stigma associated with mental illness and substance use disorders to be eliminated. Often advocacy has a legislative focus.

To that end, Deryn Smith, MPH, CPS Substance Misuse Prevention Coordinator at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, has kindly highlighted bills of interest affecting youth in New Hampshire.

Dana Michalovic, Director of Development and Community Relations

Pictured Above: Dana Top Left, and Deryn Top Right. Mental Health Advocates.

NH 2024 Legislative Session

During the 2024 legislative session, there are numerous bills being heard around substance misuse and mental health.

Deryn has called the following pending legislative bills to our attention:

Senate Bill 335 aims to reduce the attractiveness of advertising towards children and teenagers, and adds labeling restrictions to current alcohol advertising laws that will prohibit cartoons, toys, and characters in labels and advertisements.

House Bill 1633 is relative to the legalization and regulation of cannabis, which would mean that cannabis would be commercialized in the state of NH.

Senate Bill 419 limits the amount of THC that can be in cannabis.

House Bill 470 removes drug checking equipment or materials from the definition of drug paraphernalia.

Senate Bill 411 allows for insurance coverage for youth mental health services.

It you care to offer testimony, or voice your support or opposition to a bill, simply logon by clicking here.

Cannabis and Psychosis

Matthew Squires, MD

Chief Medical Officer


As New Hampshire legislators once again consider some form of legalizing cannabis consumption in the setting of successful efforts in neighboring states (and continued prohibition at the federal level), it is worth reviewing the evidence of the connection between cannabis use and psychosis. It is already well established that THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, transiently increases psychotic symptoms like those seen in schizophrenia.

However, the available evidence on whether cannabis use causes

 (or increases the risk of) diseases like schizophrenia is scant.


Numerous studies in the US and other countries support an association between cannabis use and psychosis. Heavy cannabis use is seen more often in new cases of schizophrenia than in the general population. Other studies have found a dose-dependent relationship between cannabis and psychosis (e.g., heavier cannabis use is seen in people with worse psychotic symptoms). This correlation does not imply causation though. It is entirely possible that sufferers of schizophreniform disorders are simply self-medicating with cannabis, believing they derive some benefit from its use. Efforts to tease out a causal relationship have been mixed.


Given the limited data and limited evidence, at West Central we do not support or encourage cannabis use, especially among clients who have a history of temporary or chronic psychotic symptoms.


WCBH Board Member Spotlight

Matthew Houde

Matthew Houde, JD, MHCDS, Vice President of Government Relations, at Dartmouth Health believes that comprehensive health care advocacy has to include advocacy for mental health, which is what he hopes to elevate in connection with his service on the West Central Board.

Thank you, Matthew!

Save the Date!

Please join us.

The Lift of Blue:

An Exhibition for Mental Health Awareness

at AVA Gallery and Art Center.

The Linda Roesch Visual Arts Gallery

May 3-July 6, 2024 | Opening reception and event: May 3rd, 5-7pm


Make A Positive Impact

As our community's needs evolve, we remain committed to improving the quality of life for all.

And, your gift helps make it possible.

Donate Today

Child Psychiatry Fellows

We are pleased to announce that Drs. Alex Buell and Josh Prickel

will be our child psychiatry fellows starting in July 2024. West Central has been fortunate to have Drs. Mitchell Cunningham and Asmita Panday as child fellows this year.

Pictured: Alexander Buell, MD, (top) and Joshua Prickel, MD (bottom).

Careers at WCBH

We are hiring in Claremont, Lebanon, and Newport!

Search our careers page and learn about our available positions.

WCBH offers a comprehensive compensation and total rewards program. We offer opportunities for professional growth and development. A collaborative work environment. Full-time, part-time positions. On-site or hybrid work arrangements (dependent on the position).  

Pictured: Sue White, Director of Human Resources at West Central.

Experiencing a Crisis?

Keep in Touch!

Facebook  Instagram  LinkedIn  YouTube