“If we can work together and pull both our resources together, that can only enhance the services we both provide.”
Statistically, people with mental illness have a shorter life expectancy, 11 years on average, Amoth noted.
Offering primary-care services at the same venue as mental-health services can help promote improved medical care for those patients, he added.
He also noted that providing medical care for those with mental illness can add a costly burden to health care because many often seek services from emergency rooms, which is typically much more expensive than services in primary-care settings.
Integrating mental-health and medical care can help reduce those costs to the health-care system, he said.
Prior to his tenure in New Hampshire, Amoth gained experience from positions he held in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado and Wyoming.
He worked in both Denver and Aurora, Co., sites of two well-publicized violent acts, the shootings at Columbine and the Century movie theater in Aurora.
That connection has strengthened his resolve to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and violence.
“People with mental illness are no more prone to violence than the general public,” he said. “We need to continue the dialogue addressing these misconceptions.”
He also recognizes the need to stress the importance of providing mental-health care for communities at a time when such care is underfunded.
He is also excited about current efforts nationwide to bring mental-health services into schools, where children can access support in a more private setting and without having to disrupt their daily activities.
Several area school districts employ mental-health counselors, and the region’s providers are looking to expand those services to more districts.
Services for adults — including an underserved senior population — are also high on Amoth’s priority list.