Our Mission: The mission of the Department of Mental Health is to promote and improve the health of Vermonters.
The Department of Mental Health resides under the Agency of Human Services and has the same critical mission in mind: to improve the conditions and well-being of Vermonters and protect those who cannot protect themselves. The Individuals and families that the Department of Mental Health (DMH) supports in Vermont's communities want the same things we all want; safe homes, close friends, loving relationships, good health and something meaningful to do each day. Our job is to help them succeed.
Our Vision: Mental Health will be a cornerstone of health in Vermont. People will live in caring communities with compassion for and a determination to respond effectively and respectfully to the mental health needs of all citizens. Vermonters will have access to effective prevention, early intervention, and mental health treatment and supports as needed to live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities.
The Department of Mental Health continues to focus on its vision for self-determination, empowerment, recovery and resiliency. This means being responsive to the needs of Vermonters and their families as well as continuing to challenge ourselves to try and change society’s culture, philosophy, values, and to fully embrace the concepts of recovery and resiliency. By improving our effectiveness and coordination of programs and services around the State, we will help Vermonters meet their needs.
Sarah Squirrell, MS, Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health (DMH). Sarah Squirrell has over 20 years of experience in community mental health and non-profit leadership with a focus on Vermont’s young children and families. Her career accomplishments include developing a multi-county public school-based mental health program in Vermont and working extensively in residential and community settings with adolescents. Further, Sarah was the founding Executive Director of the Vermont Cooperative for Practice Improvement and Innovation, focused on practice improvement and workforce development for Vermont’s mental health system of care. Most recently Sarah served as the Executive Director of Building Bright Futures, a statewide non-profit organization that serves to monitor the state’s early care, health and education systems. Sarah has Master of Science in Community Mental Health and Clinical Counseling from Southern New Hampshire University. Sarah has a demonstrated history of commitment and dedication to family-centered practice, family engagement and early childhood advocacy.
Mourning Fox, LCMHC, is the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health (DMH). He has been in the field of mental health for over twenty years with his experiences spanning outpatient crisis services and therapy, inpatient services and administration, and most recently working in various roles within DMH. He has a focus on emergency response and crisis intervention, including disaster response services, as well as the intersection between mental health and law enforcement. Fox helped develop and remains involved in the Team Two program that brings law enforcement and mental health providers together. He has provided trainings around communication and de-escalation throughout Vermont and New England to mental health providers, social services agencies, first responders, and businesses.