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The COVID-19 Crisis Contributes to Increased Need for Mental Health Supports

June 12, 2020 Common Cents
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The COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary actions to mitigate the health impacts may increase the need for mental health and substance use disorder support, due to exacerbated emotional stress. The uncertainty surrounding the crisis, social isolation, anxiety, and poor economic conditions may negatively impact mental health. Previous research suggests loss of financial assets, job loss, and the potential for job loss have had negative impacts on mental health. Survey data show the impacts have already had substantial effects on the mental health of many individuals throughout the nation, as nearly half of all adults in the United States reported negative impacts on their mental health due to worry and stress over the 2019 novel coronavirus. In New Hampshire, significant portions of the adult population report experiencing elevated feelings of worry, anxiety, and depression, with disproportionate impacts on the mental health of adults who experienced an income loss within their household.

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New Data Provide Insight into Extensive Economic Impacts and Income Losses from the COVID-19 Crisis

June 3, 2020 Common Cents
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The challenges facing Granite Staters due to the COVID-19 crisis are unprecedented, and data continue to suggest the negative effects of this crisis are concentrated on those who are most vulnerable. New survey data indicate nearly half of New Hampshire households have lost employment income since March 13, and one in six have either missed or are likely to miss a monthly housing payment. Caseload data show that 198,905 new initial unemployment claims were generated in New Hampshire during the week ending March 15 through May 23. The preliminary seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate reached 16.3 percent in New Hampshire during April 2020, which is the second-highest among the New England states. Many Granite Staters appear to have lost employer-sponsored health insurance as well. These economic effects have led to increased needs for nutrition assistance and support from other aid programs. While the full effects of the crisis remain uncertain, key indicators provide valuable insights and comparisons between the current COVID-19 crisis, the period immediately before this crisis, and the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009.

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State Agencies Project Major Revenue Declines Due to COVID-19 Crisis Impacts

May 29, 2020 Common Cents
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New Hampshire State agencies expect revenue collections to be more than half a billion dollars less than planned through the middle of 2021, indicating key services for Granite Staters may face funding challenges without other supports. Agency officials indicated the combined General Fund and Education Trust Fund collections may be about $486 million, or 9.2 percent, lower than originally planned for the entire State Budget biennium. The expected reductions in revenue to these Funds and the Highway Fund, caused by the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, suggest additional revenue from the federal government or other sources will be required to avoid significant and consequential reductions to the current State Budget.

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Initiatives Aim to Increase Rural Access to Broadband Internet Services

2 Jul 2020

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Broadband internet availability and use is uneven between rural and urban areas of New Hampshire. A lack of key broadband infrastructure connecting many homes in rural regions has resulted in increased connection challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. The crisis has required individuals and families to transition many activities from face-to-face interactions to virtual communication, and has increased the necessity of reliable broadband internet services among Granite Staters. Key legislation recently passed by the New Hampshire Legislature, new state level initiatives, and federal investments may aid in expanding broadband internet services to underserved areas of the state, and help ensure more Granite Staters will be online at sufficient broadband speeds in the future.

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