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ADVOCATES for Grafton County Mental Health Court

Supporting the Courts in 



What are mental health courts and why they are important

Mental health courts are innovative programs that bring together mental health and criminal justice agencies to address the unique needs of persons with serious mental illness who commit criminal offenses. 

The goals are to:

  • attain an improved quality of life for the individual

  • eliminate incarceration

  • reduce recidivism

  • increase public safety

  • better utilize criminal justice resources

Those who participate in mental health court receive needed and appropriate treatment in the community, while being held responsible for their crimes. 

The sentence addresses the root causation underlying a person’s behavior, namely mental illness. 

Mental health courts are achieving these goals. 

Mental illnesses are treatable disorders of the brain. Left untreated, they are among the most disabling and destructive illnesses
— National Alliance on Mental Illness—New Hampshire [NAMI]

Grafton County Mental Health Court is changing lives 

Linda was in court for passing bad checks. She was also homeless, jobless and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Linda needed help, not a jail sentence. 

She appeared in District Court and was referred to a Mental Health Court program for evaluation. Instead of jail, Linda was granted a twelve month contract. 

She agreed to a treatment plan, worked with a psychiatrist, therapist and case manager and agreed to take her prescribed medications. 

Linda returned to court each month to communicate her progress to the judge. If she did not comply with her treatment plan she would go to jail. 

She began to live a healthy lifestyle that continues to this day. 

Why the Grafton County Mental Health Court needs your support 

Grafton County funds a full-time Mental Health Court Coordinator and contributes to the cost of case management provided by local community mental health centers. 

But there are additional needs that arise to enhance the overall success of our mental health court participants. 

Here are some ways you can help: 

  • Provide funding to support and encourage participants achieve behavioral change

  • Be an advocate for more mental health services in your community

  • Raise community awareness about mental illness

  • Support crisis intervention training for law enforcement

Together we can make a difference!

Together we can make a difference!

What the experts say… 

Mental health courts are a growing national movement. There are an estimated 150 courts in the United States, including 10 in New Hampshire:

New Hampshire Judicial Branch: Drug and Mental Health Courts

Mental health courts provide a cost effective, alternative rehabilitative sentencing option to courts and offer a higher probability of success than traditional sentencing options.
— Judge Al Cirone – Lebanon District Court retired.
We can show that the investment into mental health courts not only saves lives, it saves taxpayer money.
— Lara Saffo, Grafton County Attorney
Probably the most important goal of mental health courts is to initiate and solidify the connection between the defendant with mental illness and the mental health provider system.
— Tony Hutchins, Public Defender
When we work together to understand all aspects of a human challenge such as mental illness, we are much more likely to find a real solution.
— Shelly Golden, MSW Grafton County Mental Health Court Coordinator

Mission of the Advocates

… to champion the success of Grafton County Mental Health Court participants and to support and promote the work of the judicial programs which provide an effective and meaningful alternative to the traditional criminal justice system for individuals with mental illness.  

We need your help …

Funding for mental health court does not cover the incentives and financial assistance that are important for the success of our program participants. Your gift can help them achieve stability and become self-supporting, produc1ve and healthy members of their communities.

Advocates for Grafton County Mental Health Court, Inc is a 501(c) (3) not-for profit organization.
Federal Tax ID number:   46-3618416

To make a tax-deductible donation by credit card, please click:

Donations may also be mailed to:

PO Box 303
North Haverhill, NH 03774 

For more information about the Advocates contact Donna Stamper at 603-863-2621.

For more information about NH Specialty Courts go to

For more information about Alternative Sentencing go to

Newsletter: If you wish to receive the twice yearly free newsletter, ADVOCATES Court Report, either by USPS or by email, please email the appropriate address to: Please put the ADV Court Report Subscription in the subject line.