Health and Mental Health

Understanding the systematic nature of health and mental health access and outcomes illuminates the equitable distribution of fairness and justice in a community. 

A coalition of groups came together to collect a Community Health Needs Assessment that clarifies the health and mental health needs in the Upper Valley. Partner organizations include Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital, Visiting Nurse and Hospice for VT and NH, Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, Valley Regional Healthcare, New London Hospital, and Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice with technical support from the NH Community Health Institute/JSI.

 We highlight some findings here as they apply to the City of Lebanon. 

Economic and Social Factors

 Compared to the state of New Hampshire, Lebanon is disadvantaged on several economic and social factors related to health.DEI Health Table

Most Pressing Health Needs

Lebanon represents the largest proportion of individuals (about 17%) responding to the Community Residents Survey, which identified the following areas that were “pressing health needs.”

DEI Health Table 1 Opens in new window

Problems related to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Additionally, many survey respondents indicated that they were currently experiencing increased stress or anxiety, loneliness, and loss of connection as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.DEI Health Table 2 Opens in new window

Access to Health-Related Services

Many residents had a hard time accessing important health-related services and listed the following reasons.DEI Health Table 3 Opens in new window

Perceptions of Underserved Populations

A survey of Community Leaders indicated the following perceptions about the groups who were most underserved.DEI Health Table 4 Opens in new window

Discussion Group Feedback

In order to get more detail on some of these challenges, the group also convened a number of discussion groups intended to represent a broad cross-section of the region. The quotes below are illustrative of these discussions:

  • Home-based, non-health care-related supports such as home maintenance, cleaning, shopping, and other non-healthcare social supports are key, but not broadly available. “There are a lot of resources in the community for helping older adults remain vibrant, but much of it is for well-resourced seniors”; “We have a lot of seniors in more rural communities who are struggling.”
  • Discussing issues of race and discrimination and doing something to address them should be happening all the time, not only because of a holiday or what is happening in the news.
  • Be aware of language barriers. Patients may not speak up if they are not understanding what is being said.
  • “Transportation is the number one barrier to everything.”
  • “Extremely long waitlists (for mental health care) which puts a burden on primary care.”
  • Services for child protection, domestic violence are understaffed, resources exhausted. Especially shelter capacity and housing.

Additional Information

For more information, please review the full Community Health Needs Assessment on the Dartmouth-Hitchcock website.