Department of Mental Health Strategic Planning: 2010-2015


The Department of Mental Health is in the process of developing a 3-5 year strategic plan, and we are asking for feedback from anyone interested about our plan. For more information about the strategic planning process so far and the feedback we have received, see below.


What is strategic planning?

Strategic planning can be defined as “the process of identifying an organization’s long-term goals and objectives and then determining the best approach for achieving those goals and objectives” (Source: Organizations typically use strategic planning to answer the following questions:

1. Where are we now?
2. Where do we want to go over the next 3-5 years?
3. How we will get there, and how will we know if we got there?

Why is DMH developing a strategic plan?

The overall goals of our strategic planning process will be to:

  • Establish and/or maintain priorities during “turbulent” times
  • Align all of our current projects with priorities
  • Ensure that DMH structures and practices support our priorities

How will DMH develop its strategic plan?

DMH will be going through a three-step process to develop its strategic plan. These phases will include:

Phase I: Where are we now?

During this phase DMH will work with people interested to assess the current status of mental health in Vermont. Activities will include:

  • Reviewing DMH’s Mission, Vision, Guiding Values, and Statutory Responsibilities
  • Cataloguing DMH’s current functions, programs, initiatives, and resources
  • Identifying DMH’s and the mental health system’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
Phase II: Where do we want to go over the next five years?

During this phase, DMH will, based on stakeholder feedback, update its vision, mission and values and begin to develop priorities, goals, and specific objectives for the next 3 to 5 years. Once these have been drafted, DMH will review these priorities, goals and objectives with stakeholders for additional feedback.

Phase III: How we will get there, and how will we know if we got there?

During this phase, DMH will work with stakeholders to develop an action plan that will include:

  • Strategies and specific tasks to meet the goals and objectives, desired outcomes, our responsibilities, and the timelines to get there 
  • Methods for monitoring, evaluating, and updating the plan

Underlying Principles

Throughout the strategic planning process, DMH will:

  • Include consumers, peers, and families in the planning, development and provision of the activities, services and supports referenced in this plan.
  • Collect and use reliable data to demonstrate the achievement of our strategic goals.

What has DMH done so far?

DMH has been in the process of meeting with various stakeholders to inform them about the strategic planning process and asking for feedback on the questions of “Where are we now?” and “Where do we want to go?” This process has included:

  • Reviewing and getting feedback on DMH’s mission and vision.
  • Identifying strengths and weaknesses of DMH and the mental health system
  • Identifying opportunities and threats that could affect DMH and the mental health system in the next several years
  • Developing a list of possible strategic goals for DMH and the mental health system.

DMH’s Draft Strategic Plan

Stakeholder Feedback

DMH has met with the following stakeholder groups to solicit feedback on the strategic plan:

  • The adult state standing committee
  • The children and family standing committee
  • The Mental Health Transformation Council
  • The Designated Agency (community mental health center) Executive Directors, Emergency Services Directors, Outpatient Directors, Community Rehabilitation and Treatment Directors, and Children’s and Family Directors.

In the coming months, DMH will be meeting with stakeholder groups to finalize the strategic goals and develop specific objectives and tasks for each goal.

If you would like to provide feedback on the material that has been developed and/or be involved in the strategic planning process, please complete the Strategic Planning Feedback Form.