NHLN Opinion+: Mark Doyle

Hugo Balta

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Welcome to this week’s episode of NHLN Opinion+ where we talk about major issues the Latinx and underrepresented communities face in the New Hampshire community. 

This week’s featured guest was Mark Doyle, Director of Emergency Services and Communication in New Hampshire. Today’s topics were understanding the emergency services of New Hampshire and the impact it has had on communities.

“Last year we had a lot more calls due to the stay-at-home order and spending most of our time inside,” said Director Doyle. “This summer we have interestingly seen an increase in calls referring to overdose.” The increase in emergency calls related to overdose may be related to the issues of mental health as mental health has become a hot topic on all platforms. 

For the Latinx/Hispanic community, mental health and mental illness are often stigmatized topics resulting in prolonged suffering in silence, reports MHA.

The goal right now is to improve emergency protocols and the 911 call. Starting October 5th, there will be a 603 prefix required for emergency services to access any emergency department. There will be a change in mental health emergency calls with the new 988 Mental Health Crisis Line replacing the old 1-800-273-TALK National Suicide Helpline in July 2022. “This is a lot of moving parts, but we believe that this will allow people to get mental health services faster,” stated Director Doyle. 

When you dial 911 you are going to get connected with your local emergency services such as the fire department or the police. In New Hampshire when you dial 911 you are going to get connected to a representative from an emergency services site from either Concord or Laconia. They will ask you questions to determine what type of services you need and where you are located. A language line is used to assist all non-English speakers. Representatives can speak over 150 languages and can be referenced by telecommunicators. Director Doyle wants to make a rock-solid system that meets the needs of everyone needing help.  

These changes provide a unique perspective on how to address the correct needs of every person in need. The language line reduces the communication barrier for non-English speakers and promotes equality for everyone who needs assistance. New Hampshire’s situation is unique as Covid creates more mental health issues that lead to an increase of emergency calls within the last year. Texting 911 has allowed underrepresented communities to seek assistance when calling is not available.  Director Doyle and everyone on his staff is doing everything possible to meet the needs of every individual regardless of the situation. 

Resources mentioned in the video: 

-Text and sending a message to 911. 

-Mental Health Center: https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcbcs/bbh/centers.htm

-Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/index.htm

-New Hampshire Law Enforcement : https://www.nhsp.dos.nh.gov/