DMH and ADAP partnered to receive a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant that will provide $2M in funding over 16 months, for the provision of crisis intervention services, mental and substance use disorder treatment, and other related recovery supports for Vermonters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant will allow Vermont to address statewide mental health and substance use needs related to COVID-19 through implementation and expansion of services and supports, and bolster emergency services and mobile response.
We are grateful to have a strong mental health system of care in Vermont. Our Designated Mental Health and Specialized Service Agencies, and peer agencies in Vermont all signed on to the grant funded activities.
The supports and services identified through the grant are below:
1. Expansion of Emergency Services for Our Most Vulnerable Vermonters struggling with Mental Illness
We know during this challenging time that more individuals will need access to support. Given the fact that we are still physically distanced and want to deliver safe services some of the grant funds will be utilized to purchase technology for staff to provide telehealth services 24/7.
2. Renovations to Existing Crisis Programs
These funds will also be used for renovations to existing mental health crisis programs to make space more accessible and private for clients. Although the priority for providing emergency services will be through telehealth, there will be circumstances for which an in-person meeting is necessary with the goal of diverting hospitalization to an already stressed facility and ensuring individuals are safe.
3. Mobile Crisis Vans
We will be able to purchase seven vans for the state to be used for mobile crisis response to individuals in need. The vans will allow the space to comply with physical distancing recommendations while meeting with individuals.
4. Sensory Bags, Cleaning Supplies
Grant funds will be able to be used to ensure staff at agencies have items such as sensory bags and cleaning agents to enable outreach to clients that will make their contact with individuals safe and appropriate.
5. MH Peer Support Services and Outreach
MH peer-to-peer services are an essential element of Vermont’s mental health system of care. Grant funds will be used for expansion and extension of peer services to provide community support and outreach to vulnerable Vermonters. Funds will be used to pay for peer support staff to increase services such as the peer support line, peer support outreach, virtual peer support groups and peer support for clients enrolled in the supported employment program.
6. Outreach to Individuals with SMI
Grant funds will be used for staff time to do outreach to individuals in facilities suffering from SMI who may not currently be engaged in treatment. Increased staff time to respond to the demand for mental health interventions is critical for this high-risk population. Funded staff will be able to connect individuals to evidence-based medication, treatment, and recovery supports.