Vermont Mother Pens Letter With Concerns About Direction The Conversation About VT’s Mental Health System Is Taking

"The RIFing of State Hospital workers is totally unacceptable."

Article published Mar 8, 2012
Pool of staff is needed

I would be much more impressed by the Floyd Nease article if there actually was comprehensive local mental health care. Acute and urgent care is hard to come by and reducing beds will not improve services. I know of three times that my local hospital ER sent seriously mentally ill patients home saying they could get no one to see the patient. This governor has not seemed to make mental illness a high priority so what will change by eliminating current service levels.

I have a family member who had ten brief hospitalizations including three in Vermont before he was finally placed in a comprehensive specialty mental health hospital program that actually kept him for one month to stabilize his medications. This was followed by a year of intensive outpatient care in a carefully supervised program and group home. Fifteen years later he has not returned to a hospital setting because he was finally observed and stabilized on appropriate medication. Will this happen in Vermont?

What is this enhanced level of care and peer support going to consist of? Will it be daily comprehensive support and appropriate living situations or will it be a therapist once a week and then you are on your own. Don’t forget if it is holiday time you may go two or three weeks to see someone as agencies seem to close at the worst times.

The RIFing of State Hospital workers is totally unacceptable.

At the very least the RIFed state hospital workers should have been offered special Vermont state positions (to hold their state benefits) at the area mental health agencies to provide for all this “local mental health care” the governor supports. Then when the new hospital is built, there will remain a pool of experienced workers to staff it.

Beverly Frost