John Broderick is the Senior Director of Public Affairs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health and a former Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.  Broderick has spent the last 60+ months traveling to over 230 schools in New England talking to young people about the importance of realizing that mental health is not “a character flaw” or “a weakness” it’s a veritable health issue.  He says: “To be very blunt, I’m on a mission to start a conversation.”

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For the last six years, John Broderick has made it his mission to change the conversation about mental health.  He’s travelled hundreds of thousands of miles to schools all over new England.  He’s talked with tens of thousands of young people.  He says: “It’s too easy not to talk about it, and progress never comes through silence.”

John says he’s learned that if you bury something, you bury it alive.  He decided to start talking about the issue.  It’s the most important work of his professional life and he’s discovered his purpose.

For John, it’s okay not to be okay, however it’s just not okay to pretend that you are okay when you don’t feel that way.

John reminds people that mental health issues are common and very treatable.   He tells parents to turn off the electronic devices and start talking with your kids.  He also encourages parents to let young kids go out and play and have fun and not over-organize their schedules. These days kids are not allowed to be kids and find out who they are.  Very simply he says: let kids grow up!

John is spreading the message about the REACT mental health protocol.  The letters of REACT stand for:

R – recognize the signs of emotional suffering

E – express concern and offer support

A – act now and talk to someone you trust such as a parent, teacher, coach, relative or friend

C – care enough to follow through and follow up

T – text signs to groups that can provide support 

You can learn more about the Dartmouth Hitchcock REACT campaign right here:

You can also learn more about the Five Signs of Emotional Suffering here: