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Vermont Mental Health Services Guide

You might not realize that publicly-funded mental health services are available in your state. If you're looking for free or low-cost counseling, you might think your only options are counselors in private practice and not realize that publicly-funded providers in your community may also offer counseling services. 

 

While state-based programs are not for everyone, they're often a great place to start if you face geographic or financial barriers to getting therapy. Intake specialists at community mental health programs can help you learn whether you qualify for state-funded services. If you don't qualify, they can often refer you to other low-cost programs that may be able to meet your needs.


 

When Should You Go to a State Mental Health Program?

 

Few private mental health providers are able to immediately serve people in crisis, while most state mental health departments, including Vermont's, have crisis response systems that help people get mental health care quickly in an emergency. This usually makes public mental health services the best option if you're having a mental health crisis and need help right away. The people who answer crisis lines can provide caring attention and support as they help you determine the best response to a crisis, whether it's inpatient treatment or an appointment with a counselor.

 

Publicly-funded outpatient mental health programs in Vermont are called designated agencies (DAs). In addition to affordable therapy, DAs provide specialized and intensive services that aren't available anywhere else or that are hard to find in private clinics, like case management and day treatment. Consider going to a DA if you need intensive treatment or can't access mental health care in the private sector due to your diagnosis or financial situation.


Who Is Eligible for Public Mental Health Services in Vermont?

 

Like most states' mental health systems, Vermont's mental health system prioritizes people who are uninsured or underinsured and who have limited incomes. However, the Vermont mental health department does not list these or other financial or clinical eligibility requirements on their official website. The only thing the Vermont Department of Mental Health (DMH) officially states is that "not all programs have the same eligibility criteria or services available." 

 

Howard Center, one of Vermont's 10 official designated agencies, similarly states, "Each [Howard Center] program has different eligibility requirements." Clara Martin Center, another DA, states in their handbook that to be eligible, you "must be 18 years of age or older, must have a mental health diagnosis, must have the ability to pay for services received, and must live in our service delivery area to be eligible for our sliding fee scale."

 

Based on this information, you need to have a mental health condition and live in a DA's service area to receive services there. Most DAs take multiple insurance plans and offer sliding fee scales. Since there is some variation from program to program, we recommend that you call your local DA to confirm whether they offer therapy and whether you are eligible, including whether you are eligible for a discount or sliding fee scale if you don't have insurance.


How Can You Find Out More About Local Programs in Vermont?

 

One place you can call in Vermont to find out more about your local mental health resources is Vermont 2-1-1. Simply call 2-1-1 or visit their site for more information. Their Mental Health Services page even breaks down mental health listings by service type.

 

Public mental health services in Vermont are managed on the state level by the Department of Mental Health (DMH). For general information about the Vermont mental health system, you can call the main DMH number at (802) 241-0090. 

 

Another way to find out about mental health services in Vermont is to call the designated agency where you want to receive services. We've listed numbers for all Vermont DAs below, including both crisis and general information lines. We compiled this list using information from the official DMH page and the Vermont Care Partners page. To confirm whether you are eligible for services, whether financial aid is available, and what payment options are accepted, we recommend calling the program you're interested in directly. 

 

 

Vermont's Mental Health Clinics and Access Numbers

Northern and Central Vermont

 

  • Northwestern Counseling and Support Services
    1. Serving Franklin and Grand Isle Counties
    2. Crisis Line: (802) 524-6554 or (800) 834-7793
    3. Main Number: (802) 524-6554
    4. Office Location:
      • 107 Fisher Pond Road (St. Albans): (802) 524-6554

 

  • Northeast Kingdom Human Services
    1. Serving Orleans, Essex, and Caledonia Counties
    2. Crisis Line (Derby): (802) 334-6744
    3. Crisis Line (St. Johnsbury): (802) 748-3181
    4. Main Number: (802) 334-6744 or (800) 696-4979
    5. Office Locations:
      • 181 Crawford Road (Derby): (802) 334-6744
      • 2225 Portland Road (St. Johnsbury): (802) 748-3181

 

  • Howard Center
    1. Serving Chittenden County
    2. Crisis Line: (802) 488-7777
    3. Main Number: (802) 488-6000
    4. Adult Outpatient Office Locations:
      • Client Services (1138 Pine Street, Burlington): (802) 488-6600
      • Adult Services (300 Flynn Avenue, Burlington): (802) 488-6200
      • Pine Street Counseling Services (855 Pine Street, Burlington): (802) 488-6100
      • Chittenden Clinic (75 San Remo Drive, South Burlington): (802) 488-6450

 

  • Lamoille County Mental Health
    1. Serving Lamoille County
    2. Daytime Crisis Line (M-F 8am-4pm): (802) 888-5026
    3. After-Hours Crisis Line (Weekends and After 4pm): (802) 888-8888
    4. Main Number: (802) 888-5026
    5. Office Location:
      • 72 Harrel Street (Morrisville): (802) 888-5026

 

  • Counseling Service of Addison County
    1. Serving Addison County (Except the Towns of Granville and Hancock)
    2. Crisis Line: (802) 388-7641
    3. Main Number: (802) 388-6751
    4. Office Location:
      • 89 Main Street (Middlebury): (802) 388-6751

 

  • Clara Martin Center
    1. Serving Orange County (Except the Towns of Orange, Washington, and Williamstown) and the Towns of Granville and Hancock in Addison County
    2. Crisis Line: (800) 639-6360
    3. Main Number: (802) 728-4466
    4. Access Lines:
      • Randolph Area: (802) 728-4466
      • Bradford Area: (802) 222-4477
      • Wilder Area: (802) 295-1311
    5. Adult Outpatient Office Locations:
      • Clara Martin Center (11 North Main Street, Randolph): (802) 728-4466
      • CSP Services (24 South Main, Randolph): (802) 728-6000
      • Chris's Place Crisis Center (4 Highland Avenue, Randolph): (402) 728-4466 x367
      • Alyssum Crisis Respite (927 Route 100 North, Rochester): (802) 767-6000
      • Bradford Main Site (1483 Lower Plain, Bradford): (802) 222-4477
      • Bradford Farmhouse (1740 Lower Plain, Bradford): (802) 222-4477
      • Chelsea Clinic (356 VT Route 110, Chelsea): (802) 685-4859
      • White River Family Practice (331 Olcott Drive, Suite U3, White River Junction): (802) 295-6132
      • Wilder (39 Fogg Farm Road, Wilder): (802) 295-1311

 

  • Washington County Mental Health Services
    1. Serving Washington County and the Towns of Orange, Washington, and Williamstown in Orange County
    2. Crisis Line: (802) 229-0591
    3. Main Number: (802) 229-1399
    4. Adult Outpatient Office Locations:
      • Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (174 Hospital Loop, Berlin): (802) 479-4083
      • Intensive Care Services/Crisis (286 Hospital Loop, Berlin): (802) 229-0591
      • Community Support Program (9 Heaton Street, Montpelier): (802) 223-6328

 

Southern Vermont

 

  • Health Care and Rehabilitation Services of Southeastern Vermont
    1. Serving Windham and Windsor Counties (Except the Towns of Bethel, Rochester, Royalton, Sharon, and Stockbridge)
    2. Crisis Line: (800) 622-4235
    3. Main Number: (802) 886-4500
    4. Access Lines:
      • Springfield Region: (855) 220-9429
      • Brattleboro Region: (855) 220-9428
      • Hartford Region: (855) 220-9430
    5. Office Locations:
      • Brattleboro Regional Office (51 Fairview Street, Brattleboro): (802) 254-6028
      • Springfield Regional Office (390 River Street, Springfield): (802) 886-4500
      • Hartford Regional Office (49 School Street, Hartford); (802) 295-3031
      • Bellows Falls Office (1 Hospital Court, Bellows Falls): (802) 463-3947
      • Windsor Office (14 River Street, Windsor): (802) 674-2539
      • Alternatives Crisis Respite (10 Lincoln Street, Springfield): (802) 885-7280

 

  • Clara Martin Center
    1. Serving Windham and Windsor Counties (The Towns of Bethel, Rochester, Royalton, Sharon, and Stockbridge Only)
    2. Crisis Line: (800) 639-6360
    3. Main Number: (802) 728-4466
    4. Access Lines:
      • Randolph Area: (802) 728-4466
      • Bradford Area: (802) 222-4477
      • Wilder Area: (802) 295-1311
    5. Adult Outpatient Office Locations:
      • Clara Martin Center (11 North Main Street, Randolph): (802) 728-4466
      • CSP Services (24 South Main, Randolph): (802) 728-6000
      • Chris's Place Crisis Center (4 Highland Avenue, Randolph): (402) 728-4466 x367
      • Alyssum Crisis Respite (927 Route 100 North, Rochester): (802) 767-6000
      • Bradford Main Site (1483 Lower Plain, Bradford): (802) 222-4477
      • Bradford Farmhouse (1740 Lower Plain, Bradford): (802) 222-4477
      • Chelsea Clinic (356 VT Route 110, Chelsea): (802) 685-4859
      • White River Family Practice (331 Olcott Drive, Suite U3, White River Junction): (802) 295-6132
      • Wilder (39 Fogg Farm Road, Wilder): (802) 295-1311

 

  • United Counseling Service
    1. Serving Bennington County
    2. Crisis Line (Bennington): (802) 442-5491
    3. Crisis Line (Manchester): (802) 362-3950
    4. Main Number: (802) 442-5491
    5. Office Locations:
      • Bennington UCS (100 Ledge Hill Drive, Bennington): (802) 442-5491
      • Northshire UCS (5312 Main Street, Manchester): (802) 362-3950

 

  • Rutland Mental Health Services
    1. Serving Rutland County
    2. Crisis Line: (802) 775-1000
    3. Main Number: (802) 775-2381
    4. Office Locations:
      • 7 Court Square (Rutland): (802) 775-4388
      • 78 South Main Street (Rutland): (802) 775-2381

 

Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) are another option for public mental health care in Vermont. These federally-funded programs provide medical and mental health services to people in underserved communities. Their goal is to deliver high-quality coordinated care to people with complex needs and to link behavioral healthcare with primary medical care. Each FQHC accepts Medicaid and Medicare and offers sliding-scale fees to people without insurance. You can search for FQHCs using the online search tool on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. 

How Does Vermont's Public Mental Health System Work?

In the 1960s, Americans started thinking differently about how to treat mental health conditions. New laws required state and local governments to establish community mental health programs as alternatives to institutionalization for people with serious mental illness. Many states trace the origins of their public mental health programs back to this period.

 

Vermont is no exception. Vermont Care Partners, the umbrella organization for all of the state's designated agencies, states that "Many of our agencies came into being as the result of the 1963 Community Mental Health Act." Among them are the Clara Martin Center, founded in 1966, and Health Care and Rehabilitation Services of Southeastern Vermont, founded in 1967. United Counseling Service traces its history even further back to 1958.

 

According to a Valley News article by Rick Jurgens, Vermont "can plausibly claim to have been on the road to deinstitutionalization since 1953, when a state panel considering a proposal to extend the flagship mental hospital in Waterbury recommended that community programs be added instead." Vermont had been seeking to shut down its main state hospital for years when Tropical Storm Irene flooded and finally closed it in 2011. The following year, the Vermont Legislature passed Act 79, the state's mental health reform bill, to press for an even stronger shift from institutional to community-based services.

 

Unfortunately, since then, like many states, Vermont has struggled to maintain its mental health system at a level that meets demand. Even after opening a cutting-edge new inpatient facility in 2014, Vermont still doesn't have enough inpatient treatment beds. Vermonters wait for days in emergency rooms for acceptance to an inpatient facility. They face long wait times at community mental health programs, too. The state still hasn't met the funding goals for community-based programs that were proposed in Act 79.

 

Fortunately, Vermont is making efforts to improve its system. The state has embraced a more modern approach to hospital care and is making efforts to modernize and expand community-based services as well. The Department of Mental Health recently published a ten-year plan and are seeking to establish and expand integrated care across the state.

 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), only 58 percent of people in Vermont who have mental health conditions get treatment for them. One reason for the care gap is that people aren't aware of their options for affordable mental health care, including the public mental health system and designated agencies. You can help change these statistics by reaching out and using local mental health resources to get the care you need.

 


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