Mission Zero

Information about the DHHS Mission Zero project

Mission Zero is a collaborative effort to eliminate hospital emergency department (ED) psychiatric boarding. The work to address ED boarding reduction is already a top focus for NH and DHHS, as outlined in NH’s 10-Year Mental Health Plan. Mission Zero will add additional resources and attention to overcome this urgent, complex challenge in collaboration with community stakeholders.

DHHS has been planning Mission Zero for several months and knows it cannot be achieved overnight. The Mission Zero plan will address the key drivers of New Hampshire’s ED boarding challenge: 

  • Front Door Issues - in which people in crisis go to the ED because they have been unable to receive timely services in the community to address their psychosocial needs and/or immediate psychological crisis;
  • Inpatient Supply & Coordination Issues - in which people with acute psychiatric needs are unable to be transferred to an appropriate inpatient bed due to a shortage or system fragmentation of such beds; and
  • Back Door Issues - in which people are exceeding medically necessary stays in inpatient psychiatric facilities due to a lack of the right levels of support they need to discharge safely.

DHHS analyzed over 30 priority interventions and—integrating system data, longstanding community concerns, and national best practice—determined a subset of the most efficacious, shovel-ready efforts that align with ongoing implementation of and investments in the 10-Year Mental Health Plan. Among the strategies DHHS will pursue to address these drivers is a focus on expanding funding for community mental health centers (CMHCs) in the next State budget, which will allow for better workforce recruitment and greater financial security for CMHCs to make upstream investments in areas such as housing.

This transformational work will not be achieved by one entity. In order for New Hampshire to reach Mission Zero, all stakeholders will work closely together to achieve its goal. The Department looks forward to ongoing collaboration with our partners throughout the State’s mental health system.