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Rutland Mental Health Services to Pilot Mobile Response & Stabilization Services

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Rutland Mental Health Services Awarded Grant for Mobile Response & Stabilization Services Rutland Mental Health Services will pilot a new program that will offer immediate, in-person, home and community-based services for children and families in need of stabilization supports to divert from Emergency Department visits.

RUTLAND VT– Community Care Network-Rutland Mental Health Services has received a grant from the Vermont Department of Mental Health to pilot Mobile Response and Stabilization Services (MRSS) in Rutland County to avert unnecessary hospital emergency department visits for children and adolescents and to reduce the likelihood of a crisis developing. The MRSS demonstration project is for two years, and the Vermont Legislature has
appropriated $600,000 for year one of the initiative. Once available starting this fall, MRSS will offer in-person, home and community-based services to any Rutland County family requesting immediate stabilization supports. MRSS is being designed as a way to get families the supports they need, when they need them, before emotional and behavioral challenges escalate to the point of requiring more intensive mental health crisis or hospital services. “Historically, Rutland has been one of the highest utilizers (per capita) of child and youth mental health hospitalizations in Vermont,” says Doug Norford, LCSW, Director of Child and Family Services at Community Care Network-Rutland Mental Health Services. “Due to the limited availability of hospital beds for children experiencing a mental health crisis, more and more we are seeing kids getting assessed and then ending up staying at the Emergency Department for several days until a hospital bed is available.” Additionally, children waiting involuntarily in Emergency Departments wait an average of 3.2 days before a mental health hospitalization placement can be made, if needed. “While we are fortunate to have hospital-based crisis stabilization supports for those who truly need them, we believe that with the right community based supports in place many of these hospitalizations can be avoided. MRSS is being designed to be that support and it is our hope that families will feel comfortable reaching out to us for support earlier in the process before things escalate into
a full crisis.” says Norford. Mobile Response and Stabilization Services will fill a gap in the service continuum by providing in-home assessment, de-escalation supports, crisis and safety planning, and resource referral
within an hour of contact. MRSS will be a preventative resource, to be used as a step prior to accessing Emergency Services. Rutland Mental Health Services’ Mobile Response and Emergency Services teams will work collaboratively to determine the services best suited to respond to calls.
“It becomes much more of an upstream service, and the purpose shifts from just managing a crisis to hopefully preventing one,” Norford says. A crucial component of MRSS is the concept of a “family-defined crisis, in which the crisis and need for support, is determined by the caller, not the provider. “I want the thinking to shift a little more from what service providers identify
as a crisis to what a family considers a crisis and then shift the thinking from what services are needed to manage the crisis to do what can we do to prevent it. We are hoping that, through this process we’ll be able to impact situations before the family feels their only option is to turn to an emergency response.” Rutland Mental Health Services aims to make Mobile Response & Stabilization Services available in the fall. Hours of operation are yet to be determined, but will likely extend from the morning until late in the evening with 24/7 support continuing to be available through the
agency’s Emergency Services team. The agency is currently working to assemble a team for the pilot and educate both families and community partners about the upcoming service. About Community Care Network- Rutland Mental Health Services Community Care Network is a consortium of health and human services programs serving the greater Rutland region in Southern Vermont. Rutland Mental Health Services, part of Community Care Network, provides a wealth of responsive, innovative, and collaborative mental health and developmental services for children, families, and adults across the lifespan.