Insights: Changing the Conversation About Mental Health


John Broderick
Senior Director of Public Affairs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, formerly the Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

“In the baby boomer world I grew up in, nobody ever talked about mental illness; nobody. I was ignorant about its signs and symptoms and didn’t see it for what it was when it entered my home and took up residence in one of my own children. It eventually took my family on a journey I wouldn’t wish on another living soul. Through the grace of God and the skill of others, we survived and healed. My mistakes and ignorance helped no one but I am not ignorant now. We all need to know the signs and begin a new, nonjudgmental conversation about mental illness. It’s a health problem, not a personal weakness, and treatment works.”

Over the last 4½ years, John has driven more than 86,000 miles — crisscrossing New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts — on a mission to improve understanding and awareness of mental illness, eliminate its stigma, and encourage discussion. John has spoken to more than 120,000 students, business leaders, employees, senior citizens, and veterans, sharing his family’s experience with the devastating impacts of mental illness. He has talked privately to many students who share their mental health challenges. Broderick says, “I have met and often hugged the future work force. This is the most important and meaningful work of my career.”

John heads up the REACT campaign at Dartmouth Hitchcock. REACT stands for:

Recognize the signs of emotional suffering

Express concern and offer support

Act Now and talk to someone you trust — parent, teacher, coach, relative, friend, doctor

Care enough to follow through and follow up

Text ‘Signs’ to 741-741 or call 603-448-4400 (24/7)

Kim was a top performing corporate executive who suffered in silence in the workplace with major depression, anxiety, alcohol misuse, and suicidal thoughts. She feared speaking openly because she believed it would harm her professional integrity and jeopardize her seat at the corporate table.

Kim LaMontagne
International Speaker, Corporate Trainer on Mental Health, Author and President/CEO of Kim LaMontagne, LLC.

Now 12 years sober and healthy, Kim teaches leaders how to normalize the conversation about mental health in the workplace. She has learned that silence is toxic, and her story is not unique. What is unique is that she is willing to be vulnerable and share her story to illustrate we are not alone.

On April 1, 2020, Kim stepped away from her corporate role and started Kim LaMontagne, LLC. During the pandemic, she created, “The 4 Pillars of Creating and Sustaining a Mentally Healthy Workplace Culture.” The 4 Pillars is a leadership training (available in person, virtual, and on-demand) that teaches leaders how to decrease mental health stigma and create a culture of safety in the workplace. A culture of safety is one where everyone feels safe speaking openly about mental health without fear of judgment, retribution, or job loss.

The 4 Pillars are:

1. Recognize the impact of unaddressed mental health in the workplace

2. Share the lived experience to bring the human connection to mental health

3. Change the perception of mental health in the workplace

4. Create a culture of safety where everyone feels safe speaking openly about mental health Kim has the unique ability to teach through the lens of the lived experience and the lens of the leader. Just like John has been hugged by children who feel safe, seen, heard, and understood after hearing his story, Kim has been approached by leaders who feel safe speaking openly after hearing hers.

John champions Kim’s work and says, “The 4 Pillars belongs in every workplace around the globe.”

Kim LaMontagne and John Broderick met on September 30, 2019. They were speakers at the New England Alliance for Health (NEAH) - Conference on Mental Health Care at Dartmouth Hitchcock. Both have compelling stories about how mental illness has touched their lives.

John and Kim have teamed up to present quarterly, virtual Nursing Grand Rounds on the topic of mental health at Dartmouth Hitchcock.

Additionally, they have presented for the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Kim recently led the Chamber - CEO Mental Health Roundtable. They are presenting at McLane Middleton Law Firm, Dover Mental Health Alliance, and NH Behavioral Health – Fall Mental Health Summits.

For more information on the REACT Campaign, visit:

For more information on “The 4 Pillars” training, visit:

To contact John or Kim, hear their stories, see the impact they are making at Dartmouth Hitchcock, and schedule a presentation, visit: