MANCHESTER, NH – St. Mary’s Bank recently presented a $1,000 donation to the Bhutanese Community of New Hampshire (BCNH) in Manchester and Concord, to further BCNH’s mental health services program.
The donation was awarded from the credit union’s 1908 Fund, named for the year St. Mary’s Bank was founded, which awards funds for the purpose of providing programs and support to organizations to move families and individuals toward financial independence.
“Many Bhutanese refugees arrived in the U.S. as the 2007 recession set in,” explains BCNH Executive Director, Tika Acharya, “and they found it difficult to find jobs. The lack of employment opportunities combined with the language barrier, culture shock, and transportation concerns led to a high rate of suicide— approximately 20.3 people per 100,000 refugees — among the Bhutanese community.”
“As we bring awareness to suicide prevention, train individuals from the community to act as Suicide Prevention Trainers, offer Mental Health First Aid Training to BCNH staff and other interested individuals, and refer individuals at mental health risk for professional help, the gift of $1,000 from St. Mary’s Bank will help us make a difference in the lives of people we serve,” Acharya adds.
BCNH’s mission is to guide New Hampshire’s Bhutanese community to achieve meaningful integration into all aspects of life, including financial literacy. St. Mary’s Bank shares this goal, as it has always welcomed and supported immigrant populations so that they can assimilate into their new communities and achieve financial independence.
As the nation’s first credit union, St. Mary’s Bank was uniquely founded with an open charter so that anyone can join, and it continues to be America’s only credit union with such a charter. In its early days, St. Mary’s Bank primarily served Manchester’s Franco-American population by providing them a safe and welcoming place to access financial services. Although Manchester has greatly changed over the years, St. Mary’s Bank has remained constant in its commitment to be a welcoming financial institution for everyone.
About Bhutanese Community of New Hampshire
The Bhutanese Community of New Hampshire (BCNH) is a young and vibrant ethnic community-based organization formed in 2009. Its mission is to create an enduring legacy of Bhutanese heritage for future generations through stewardship of community contributions and successful integration into New Hampshire and beyond.