Members Discuss Mental Health and Substance Abuse Issues Impacting the Seacoast

Dover, New Hampshire, January 26, 2018- Leadership Seacoast, a non-profit organization that develops informed, engaged, and active leaders in the Seacoast, invited its 39 members to a deep dive on Health and Human Services available to the Seacoast. Sponsored by Riverwoods, the workshop featured experts from around New Hampshire and was held at the McConnell Center in Dover.

2018 Rourke Norton Wheeler

Tym Rourke, Kerry Norton and Jennifer Wheeler

The day commenced with a talk by Tym Rourke, director of substance use disorders, grant-making and strategic initiatives at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, and chair of the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery. Rourke reflected on the universal reality of mental health and opioid abuse which occurs not only in the Seacoast area, but in all of New Hampshire.

Following Rourke, Kerry Norton, Co-founder and operations director of Hope on Haven Hill, discussed the drug epidemic the importance of early intervention. Hope on Haven Hill is a level 3.5 substance use treatment organization that serves homeless, pregnant, and newly parenting mothers who are in recovery. “It is not enough to provide a safe and nurturing place for those seeking recovery, we must educate and inform as well,” said Norton. “We promote independence an sustained sobriety through therapy, coaching support and esteem building programs.”

Participants conversed with Sarah Shanahan and Emily Murphy, representatives from Haven, an organization dedicated to addressing public health through violence prevention and improving the well-being of children and families.  In the afternoon, Janet Guen and Lauren Wool of the United Way of the Greater Seacoast discussed decision making and early intervention. The workshop concluded with insight from Kathy Crompton of Strafford County Community Action Program and Patti Frew-Waters, of Seacoast Family Promise.

Thanks to Leadership Seacoast program day sponsor Riverwoods and yearlong sponsors Revision Energy, Devine Millimet, and Calypso Communications, Leadership Seacoast is able to provide memorable, life-changing experiences to each student, create opportunities and connections with alumni, and inspire action and volunteerism through its provoking programming. For more information about Leadership Seacoast and becoming a corporate sponsor, visit or contact Jennifer Wheeler at 603-334-6063 or

About Leadership Seacoast

Based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the Leadership Seacoast program provides existing and future community leaders the opportunity to engage with the people and organizations that shape the Seacoast’s economic structure and social fabric. Leadership Seacoast offers its participant’s unique insight into how business, community, and politics integrate to create successful societies and how small actions can have a significant impact on the greater global good. Leadership Seacoast alumni make a difference in their communities through networking, active involvement, and personal action. Since its inception in 1988, Leadership Seacoast has created a strong foundation that values diversity of opinion and consensus building to find solutions to challenges affecting the Seacoast’s community and its future. For more information about our programs please contact us at or check out our website at

About RiverWoods Exeter

RiverWoods Exeter is a charitable, non-profit, nationally-accredited Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) that is comprised of three vibrant campuses located on 200 wooded acres in Exeter, New Hampshire. Conceived by a grassroots group of seacoast area residents, RiverWoods Exeter opened in 1994 and remains true to its founders’ original inspiration – that growing older should enhance, not diminish, the opportunity for a productive and rewarding life. RiverWoods Exeter is home to 620 residents supported by more than 510 staff. The community has won many awards and accolades for the quality of health care, and the innovative approach to its work. For more information, please visit