BERLIN — Retired N.H. Supreme Court Justice John T. Broderick, Jr. will speak in Berlin on Friday, May 26, at 1 p.m. at the Berlin City Hall on the issue of mental health. Judge Broderick will share his family’s experience with mental illness, and will discuss the Change Direction New Hampshire campaign — a program designed to enhance public knowledge and awareness of mental illness/emotional suffering.
The event is free, open to everyone in the community and is being held in a venue accessible to those with physical disabilities.
Judge Broderick was a member of the New Hampshire Supreme Court from 1995 to 2010. During his last seven years on the court, he served as chief justice. Much of his focus as chief justice was on making the justice system in the state more accessible, affordable and understandable for citizens.
After stepping down as chief justice, Judge Broderick became dean of the law school at the University of New Hampshire. During his tenure at UNH, he founded the Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership and Public Policy. Judge Broderick currently serves as senior director of public affairs at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
Judge Broderick co-chairs the Change Direction New Hampshire campaign. This non-partisan, non-political effort was launched before 425 people at the New Hampshire State House in May, and is the first statewide launch of this national campaign in the country. The goal of the campaign is simple: to make the five most common signs of mental illness/emotional suffering as well known as the signs of a heart attack or a stroke. In short, the five signs are personality change, agitation, withdrawal, decline in personal care, and hopelessness. Someone may exhibit one or more signs.
Campaign organizers believe that by fostering discussion about the topic of mental health in homes, places of work and worship, public schools and colleges, municipal and state governments and other centers, the community can begin to change how others think about mental illness, and that by doing so, more people will seek help for themselves, their families and their friends.
The Change Direction campaign has received strong support by business and non-profit organizations throughout New Hampshire. Local organizations helping to sponsor the event in Berlin include Androscoggin Valley Hospital, Northern Human Services, Berlin Public Schools the City of Berlin and Coos County Family Health Services. For more information, contact Brandon Gilbert at Family Health by calling (603) 752-3669.