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UCS brings VT legislators together for roundtable discussion on March 13

Community News, UCS Corporate News

United Counseling Service (UCS) hosted several Vermont legislators on March 13 for a roundtable discussion on mental health and UCS’ efforts to meet the needs of Vermonters in Bennington County. The conversation took place at the Manchester Community Library in Manchester, VT, and focused on the role of UCS programs in serving the community. These included affordable childcare through Head Start/Early Head Start of Bennington County, crisis services for children through Family Emergency Services (FES) and Psychiatric Urgent Care for Kids (PUCK), a new Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program slated to open in early April, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP), and a partnership with CHESS Health that serves as a resource for clients with substance use disorder (SUD).

“What we do is endless,” expressed UCS Executive Director, Lorna Mattern. From FES responding to 130 mobile crisis calls in the past 60 days, to keeping 23 children out of the ER through the help of PUCK, and the agency receiving a total of 254 calls for services, the level of need in Bennington County is only growing.

State representatives engaged with UCS division directors in discussing issues such as increased violence, specifically gun violence, in Bennington County, as well as a marked uptick in overdose related deaths, suicides, and crisis calls from local schools and homes. Legislators attending the roundtable discussion heard the call for support from UCS as they learned more about how UCS addresses the needs of its community—these were representatives Becca Balint, David Durfee, Mike Rice, Seth Bongartz, Kathleen James, David Scherr, and Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman. UCS looks forward to more discussions with state legislators and all those who advocate for mental health support in Vermont.

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