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Mentalhealth Hero
• Aug 10, 2020

"I'll never be able to repay TD for the lifeline they threw us."

The uncertainty of a global pandemic like COVID-19 is something that has shaken millions of people to their very core – both physically and emotionally.

The unanswered questions about the virus, the hours stuck inside letting your mind roam and ponder the future and the tragic losses so many of us have had to deal with during this time all contribute to stress and potential mental anguish.

For anyone struggling with their mental health before or during COVID-19, this is the time when they need friends, family and professional services the most.

This couldn't ring truer for the 11,000 patients and 455 staff at the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester.

The New Hampshire nonprofit relies on a steady stream of patients in order to continue to operate and serve those in the community, said Bill Rider, President & CEO. In fact, he says it costs in excess of $100,000 a day to keep helping the thousands that need their assistance.

COVID-19 Testing Table

When COVID-19 spread throughout the country in March, followed by mandated lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, Bill was tasked with seemingly insurmountable odds.

"It's been tough. We have staff who've lost family members to the virus, people who have been sick and we've lost patients to the virus as well," he said. "I thought I was going to be the CEO that would have to be here during the demise of this health center."

"We would never have been able to be there for the people who need us now," - Bill Rider, President & CEO, Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester.

TD Bank Regional Vice President Jeffrey Seifert had other ideas.

"Jeff's more than a banker, he's your friend. He continuously keeps in touch and you wouldn't know he worked for a bank that has 85,000 employees worldwide," Bill said. "He makes you feel like you're his nextdoor neighbor."

Jeff, who's been handling the mental health center's account for years, called Bill in March and let him know about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Bill says that in less than a week, the organization had a completed a PPP application and that Jeff communicated with them on what to do every step of the way.

"On a Saturday, he called and let us know we had been approved," Bill said. "We all breathed a sigh of relief. The loan helped us pay the staff, reorganize finances to make employees whole and get caught up on a previous loan."

Now, the mental health center performs about 65% of its visits via telehealth, with 35% still face-to-face with added safety precautions for patients and staff.

The staff also works tirelessly to help the homeless community in the area, as they have been impacted dramatically during this time.

Bill says shelters are crowded and at capacity because of social distancing guidelines, thus people who normally have a safe place to stay have been displaced.

In fact, Bill says the Mental Health Center had more first-time patients in April and May this year than last year – a clear sign that people need a strong support system during this unprecedented time.

"If we had been forced to lay off staff, we would never have been able to be there for the people who need us now," Bill said. " It always feels good when you know you can do things to make it better."

But Bill says it was the care from Jeff and TD Bank that made all the difference.

"Getting that initial call from Jeff about the PPP program, that meant the world. TD turned this all around for us in a very short period of time. I'll never be able to repay Jeff and TD for the lifeline they threw us," Bill added.

Jeff credits Bill's humility.

"Bill is very humble about what he does every day, leading an outstanding organization that is on the front line of addressing the challenges so many in our community face, with even greater need in the wake of this pandemic," Jeff said. "I try to share his passion for supporting those in need but will never be able to match up."

"I'm proud to work for TD Bank, an organization that provides me with the ability to recognize and continue to support those companies that are truly making a difference in our community. PPP was just one part of that relationship," Jeff added.

Want to learn more about COVID-19?
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