Judicial Branch Professional Development Session Feb 1 on Mental Health and Wellness
CONCORD—Judges and staff throughout the court system will participate in a professional development session February 1 focused on mental health and wellness conducted by Susan Stearns, the executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness New Hampshire. The session will include information about resources available for judges and staff for working with individuals experiencing mental illness who come to the courts. Supreme Court Chief Justice Gordon J. MacDonald will introduce the session which will be conducted remotely.
The Judicial Branch this year initiated staff professional development sessions on the first and third Wednesday of every month with court openings on those days delayed until 10 a.m. The February 1 session is the first of four branch wide sessions scheduled to include both judges and staff in training. Court locations statewide, the Supreme Court, the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Court Information Center will delay opening until 10 a.m. so that all Judicial Branch employees can participate.
“We wanted this first branch wide session to acknowledge the challenges our staff and judges face in their work every day and to provide them with education, support and resources,” Dianne Martin, the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts said.
Stearns, who has worked as an advocate for adults and children with disabilities for over 30 years, serves as the facilitator of the Hillsborough County Coalition on Mental Health & Justice and is a member of the Governor’s Commission on Disability and the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Mental Illness and the Corrections System. She is also a member of the advisory board for the Judicial Branch Initiative on Diversity and Inclusion and is collaborating with the Branch on an initiative aimed at improving court and community response to mental illness.