What's new:

The 10th Annual Headrest Labor Day Rail Trail Ramble was held on Monday September 5, 2016. There were more than 250 participants including more than 100 young folks ("under 23s") who participated under our collaboration with Positive Tracks and Hypertherm's Hope Foundation. It was a truly gorgeous day and all enjoyed a beautiful ramble, a delicious barbecue thanks to Mascoma Savings Bank, and terrific music thanks to the Joe Miller Project. The beautiful mountain bike donated by Omer and Bob's was won by a very happy ticket holder from Barre! See you next year at the 11th annual RTR!

How Headrest helps

How Headrest helps

Sometimes we lose track of our lives. They suddenly aren’t where we thought they’d be, and we don’t know how to get back on track. At Headrest, we help with some of those tough, very real issues. In addition to our 24-hour crisis hotline that responds yearly to 10,000 calls from Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, we offer addiction recovery services regardless of any client’s ability to pay. Headrest’s mission is to help those with limited income, so that no person is turned away; no person is alone.


Who we help

Who we help

A recent note from a past client and now donor: "I am happy to contribute $400 to your effort. I was once a troubled kid who kept bumping up against the police and other forces that be in the Lebanon/West Leb/Hanover area. I wasn't a bad person but I was doing some bad things-- and suffering from forces far larger than I could have understood at the time. It would take me a couple of decades to start to figure out that I needed some help from organizations that advance the type of support that you folks offer the community...


How you can help

How you can help

Headrest depends upon donations to support the crisis hotline and client services not funded by other sources. We are extremely grateful to the folks who donate to our Annual Appeal at the end of each year.
We plan two major events each year: the Mud Season Madness dinner-dance with silent auction in April and the Rail Trail Ramble each year on Labor Day. We are very grateful for the support we get for these events from local sponsors and participants. See "Events" for more information on the upcoming Rail Trail Ramble event.

Rail Trail Ramble registration...

Recent happenings

Proposed bylaws changes

The Governance Committee (Laura Cousineau and Andy Daubenspeck) composed changes to the Headrest Bylaws (version Sept. 26, 2015) in order to address the status of the Nominating Committee and the composition of the Executive Committee. The Nominating Committee had been an ad hoc committee, but is essential to the continuation of the organization and should be a permanent committee. The past president and an at-large member are important resources to the Executive Committee and should be included as described in the proposed changes. Consideration of these changes will take place at the August 25, 2016 meeting at APD.

Update: The bylaw changes as proposed above were accepted by the Headrest Board of Directors on August 25, 2016.


Hilde Ojibway is the new Executive Director

Hilde Ojibway has assumed the position of Executive Director at Headrest as of July 5th. Hilde is well known in the Upper Valley and has had wide experience  as the ED for several local agencies over her long career in social service. We are delighted she has decided to join us–welcome Hilde!

Thanks to departing board members

Headrest wishes to thank the board members who have recently stepped off the board after giving wonderful service to the agency. John Ziegler served as treasurer from 2005-2015 and guided HR through many challenging financial times. Elsa Roth did a tremendous job bringing Headrest’s IT state to the 21st century over her service from 2006-2015. And Dan Evans gave us wonderful advice and service regarding public relations and promotion of events from 2012-2015 and still assists us as an Active Partner. Thanks so much to all these folks for their dedicated service; we will certainly miss you all!

Headrest’s Annual Meeting on June 23, 2016

More than 30 attendees at Headrest’s Annual meeting on June 23, 2016 witnessed the presentation of the Headrest 2016 Community Service Award to Ed Rajsteter. Ed was acknowledged for his long service to Headrest as board member and Executive Director, and to the community at large for his leadership in guiding the Friends of Grafton County Drug Court to becoming the Friends of New Hampshire Drug Courts as the drug court program expands to become statewide.

In addition, Sara Kobylenski, the Executive Director of the Haven and the recipient of the 2015 Headrest CSA, gave a talk on the problems and issues facing non-profit agencies as they mature. Sara gave an interesting analysis of the growing pains shared by many non-profits from birth through adolescence to maturity, a path shared by both the Haven and Headrest. The decline into obsolescence is not inevitable, she pointed out, as long as the need for the services exist and the board and staff keep their eyes on the mission by attending to principles and values.

Suzanne Thistle departs as Executive Director

Headrest regretfully salutes Sue as she leaves Headrest as Executive Director to pursue other opportunities at the end of May. Sue guided Headrest through the extremely difficult transformation required by the changes in funding for our clinical services from State of NH grants to a fee-for-service model funded by Medicaid and insurance providers. This transition mandated getting our facility and procedures licensed, which involved a great amount of attention to detailed regulations, and Sue was instrumental in getting us through that arduous process. Thank you so much, Sue–and good luck with your new ventures!

Visit by Senator Shaheen


Senator Shaheen listens to clients

Senator Jeanne Shaheen visited Headrest on Wednesday, February 17, 2016. She spoke with board members, staff and, most importantly, current clients in the transitional living program. The clients were impressively articulate about how their experience at Headrest was essential in their recovery process. The clients were all enrolled in the 90-day Transitional Living program that provides residence and counseling in order to allow them to transition into a healthy, productive lifestyle. Clients get jobs and life-skills training to enable them to graduate into self-sufficient, substance free futures.


Headrest meeting with Tym Rourke

Tym Rourke, the Director of Substance Use Disorders Grantmaking and Strategic Initiatives for the NH Charitable Foundation, met with the Headrest board of directors and a collection of interested community members at the Dwinell Room at Alice Peck Day on January 20, 2016. This discussion was organized as an important part of the ongoing strategic planning effort at Headrest. Tym spoke for about an hour and covered a wide breadth of substance abuse treatment with a view toward future directions.

A brief summery of salient points relative to our strategic planning:

  • Opioid epidemic deaths increased greatly in NH last three years: 113, 323, & 450
  • Planning needs to focus on substance abuse not opioid epidemic; alcoholism is still a dangerous disease
  • Behavioral treatment looked at differently from medical treatment
  • State of NH received $150M to build a system of care for behavioral health treatment
  • Seamless array of services needs to be the end result similar to that for cancer care
  • Mix of Insurance treatment between Medicaid and for profit insurance necessary as Medicaid doesn’t cover all costs
  • National debate on what are best practices. Role of residential treatment, etc. “follow addiction science
  • Collaboration with other providers emphasized

This session has provided a very valuable viewpoint for our strategic planning.