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HCRS Leads Statewide Mobile Crisis Response

HCRS implemented a new community-based mobile crisis program, on January 1, for mental health and substance use emergencies across the State.

At the core of the program is a 2-person, in-person response available around the clock, eliminating the need for people in mental health emergencies to visit local Emergency Rooms and providing them with a direct line to immediate help.

HCRS specially trained staff, from multiple programs and positions, will provide these 24/7 services across Windsor and Windham counties. HCRS is subcontracting with nine other community mental health agencies to ensure comprehensive coverage across Vermont.

According to HCRS Chief Operating Officer, Anne Bilodeau, “This is a groundbreaking step forward in mental health and substance use support. Not only is this enhanced service based on best-practice, but we’ve already seen the positive impact of this 2-person, in-person response.”

HCRS was selected through an RFP process conducted by the Vermont Department of Mental Health to improve mental health crisis services statewide through a 2-person, in-person response model that is integrated with Vermont’s 988 Crisis lifeline.

HCRS hired Project Director, Mark Young, for the delivery and oversight of this statewide mobile crisis response system. Bilodeau adds, “Mark has been a key staff member of HCRS for more than 16 years. Most recently the Coordinator of HCRS’ Criminal Justice Program, he has extensive talent and experience in working collaboratively with a variety of organizations and partners.”

George Karabakakis, Ph.D., HCRS CEO, highlighted the program’s potential to reduce contact with law enforcement and alleviate emergency department overcrowding, emphasizing the broader positive impact on the community. 

www.GetHelpVT.org: A Central Hub for Resources

With the launch of the Mobile Crisis program comes the unveiling of www.GetHelpVT.org, a dedicated website serving as a central hub for resources and information. The site offers a wealth of resources and guidance, covering crisis intervention, available services, and support for individuals and their families. Users can easily access information on how to get help promptly, either through the website or by calling 9-8-8, Vermont’s Crisis Lifeline, to connect with Mobile Crisis.

Looking Ahead: A Lasting Impact on Vermont’s Mental Health Landscape

Vermont’s Mobile Crisis program is poised to make a lasting impact on the state’s mental health landscape. Vermonters are encouraged to explore www.GetHelpVT.org, share these resources within their communities, and actively participate in the collective effort to prioritize mental health and well-being.

Bilodeau adds, “This is an exciting endeavor that will have a tremendous impact on not only the people experiencing a mental health emergency but on Vermont’s entire health care system.”