Mental Health Crisis in Vermont: Opportunities and Solutions to Create a Better System of Care

Dr. Mark Levine, MD, health commissioner; Wendy Walsh, RN, public health nurse; and the Vermont National Guard’s Covid-19 Mapping Team to be Recognized as Public Health Champions

Vermont Business Magazine On Wednesday, May 11, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the Vermont Public Health Association (VtPHA) will hold its annual meeting entitled: “Vermont’s Mental Health Crisis: Opportunities and solutions for creating a better system of care”. Participants can attend in person at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpellier or virtually via Zoom.

Ken Allen, President of VtPHA, said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the mental health and well-being of Vermonters of all ages. In order to inform Vermonters of this crisis, we convened a roundtable with various stakeholders focused on the state of mental health and mental health services in Vermont, particularly as it relates to Vermont youth. Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health, Alison Krompf will moderate a panel discussion and provide her perspective on the current state of youth mental health resources in Vermont and provide a realistic view of the needs and opportunities for improvement in our system.

Referring to the COVID-19 pandemic, Allen says, “It’s also well known that compared to the United States, Vermont has done relatively well during the pandemic. At VtPHA, we realize that meeting public health needs during this pandemic and other crises requires teamwork and coordination between government, non-governmental organizations and individuals working across multiple sectors of the public health landscape. . VtPHA is honored to recognize some of those who have made extraordinary contributions to public health in the state of Vermont.

The Mental Health Committee will be made up of:

  • Alison Krompf, MA, Deputy Commissioner, Vermont Department of Mental Health

Alison will moderate the panel presentations and provide perspective on the data we have on the current state of the VT mental health care system and solutions on how we move forward.

  • Kristy Hommel, M.Ed., Ending the Silence Coordinator, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Kristy will share her own personal story and lived experience in the mental health system as a child and adult, and provide insight as a program coordinator for NAMI VT.

  • Haley McGowan, DO, Co-Director, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Consult Service, University of Vermont Medical Center

Haley will share her role in helping patients and families navigate an overburdened mental health system while improving quality of care and facilitating access to services through collaboration with community supports.

  • Katina Idol, MA, LCMHC, ARC Trainer, Lamoille Community Connections

With years of experience working with children and families in various school settings and supervising school-based clinicians, Katina will share her perspective on the mental health system with her unique clinical perspective.

This year’s Public Health Champions Awards will be presented to:

  • Mark Levine, MD, Vermont Health Commissioner, for his dedication and leadership to Vermonters during the Covid-19 pandemic, for his work for health equity, and for his vision for the future Vermont public health systems during Covid-19 recovery.
  • Wendy Walsh, RN, Public Health Nurse for the Vermont Department of Health for her 44 years of service to Vermonters and most recently as Co-Lead of the VDH Outbreak Prevention and Response Team who coordinated dozens of public health nurses across the state to be the local points of contact and councils for schools, businesses, nonprofits, health care or congregate living facilities as they navigated Covid-19 cases that impacted their organizations and facilities.

The Vermont National Guard Covid-19 Mapping Team for their work in ensuring that information about Covid-19 reaches communities in a timely and efficient manner, minimizing the risk of further outbreaks.

The VtPHA is a statewide membership organization that seeks to positively influence the health of all Vermonters. The VtPHA does this by providing a strong, independent voice for public health in Vermont through advocacy, education, and community engagement, and by bringing together professionals, decision-makers, and partners. Visit www.vtpha.org for more information on conference registration and membership.

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