In the News

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In this section you will find current news reports related to mental health, reports, events, and programs (including training programs). Check in regularly for current information and visit our Facebook page where we post articles, videos, and other relevant items. * Upper Valley Mental Health Resource Guide on Facebook


Hanover Group Provides Support for People With OCD, BY KELLY BURCH, Valley News Correspondent, Valley News 12/16/18 p. B6 Living with the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder can be isolating, so an Upper Valley group aims to bring people with the condition to- gether to share resources and support to improve their quality of life. The Upper Valley OCD Support Group meets on the first Thursday of each month from 6-7 p.m. at Howe Library, 13 E. South St., Hanover. The group is co-facil- itated by Dr. Christopher Spofford and Dr. Seoka Salstrom, clinical psychologists who specialize in the treatment of OCD and other anxiety-related disorders. Spofford said they began the group last year in order to spread information on OCD diag- nosis and treatment, and to connect peo- ple with the disorder. “Dr. Salstrom and myself have co-led these types of groups in other areas of the country and have noticed great benefit in connecting those diagnosed with OCD to- gether in the hopes of establishing a sup- port network and increasing the sharing of potentially useful information in dealing with this difficulty,” he said. “It also serves to decrease the stigma, shame and misconceptions often held about OCD.”

The group is open to people with OCD, even if they have not yet received a formal diagnosis. It also is open to family members and significant others. “OCD can often affect those close to the individual as well,” Spofford said. At the meetings, the facilitators and participants share information on OCD diagnosis, common symptoms, available treatments and helpful resources. Getting resources and support from peers can be valuable to people living with the condition, Spofford said. “The group is not considered a treatment group per se, as we do not engage in formal treatment interventions during the group,” he added. “Nevertheless, group members report getting great benefit from the sharing of information and sense of support. This can really give individuals the sense that they are not alone and strong hope for recovery.”

OCD affects up to 3 million adults in the United States, and the condition is of- ten more complicated than seemingly harmless behaviors like persistent hand- washing or checking the time, Spofford said. “OCD is not a personality quirk or char- acter trait,” he said. “It is oftentimes a se- vere and disabling condition, especially when left untreated.” Spofford acknowledged that many peo- ple are nervous or hesitant to initially at- tend the support group. However, people are welcome to come and listen, and are never pressured to share their stories, he said. For people who can overcome their hesitation, the rewards of attending the group often are worth the initial discomfort, he said. “Many of our members report that they feel great benefit and satisfaction when they were able to fight through this anxi- ety to attend,” he said. “Support groups such as this one can often assist substan- tially with the feelings of isolation and ‘different-ness’ that individuals with OCD feel.”

Editor’s note: For more information on the group, contact Spofford at or Salstrom at ssalstrom@hanover- See online link

Landmark Study Identifies Genetic Link to Schizophrenia

In what some are calling the strongest evidence to date of a genetic link to the development of schizophrenia, researchers have identified a gene that shows a significant association with the mental disorder that may explain its characteristic brain volume reductions and onset during adolescence.

Valley News Series on Mental Health Care in VT and NH

Valley News reporter Rick Jurgens launches his four part series on Vermont and New Hampshire's mental care systems with this excellent overview.


The Spring 2015 issue includes a story about the creation of this website.


F.A.S.T.E.R. is a peer support group for parents of children, teens, and young adults with substance use issues. Group is held every Wednesday from 6:00 to 7:30 pm at 44 Roberts Road in Canaan, NH. Contact Elena (603-359-3321) or Doris (603-306-6574) for more information. Group is free, confidential, comprised of peers, respectful of others' views, accepting of chemical dependency as a treatable disease of the brain, and always hopeful. Walk-Ins Welcome! Please post and pass this information along! Open to all Upper Valley residents.