HCRS, NFI open hospital diversion program for youth

BRATTLEBORO — Vermont's Department of Mental Health, the Department of Vermont Health Access, Health Care and Rehabilitation Services, and Northeastern Family Institute (NFI), announced plans to open a six-bed Hospital Diversion Program at 945 Putney Rd.

This program is a collaboration between HCRS and NFI to provide additional services to youth and families in southern Vermont. The program will be located in the old Tyler Farm House, the last Victorian house on Putney Road still standing north of the West River.

The Department of Vermont Health Access has approved funding with assistance from Vermont's Department of Mental Health to provide additional capacity to ensure expanded crisis-stabilization services for youth and teens between ages 10-18 in southern Vermont.

In a news release, HCRS said the Hospital Diversion Program is “a short-term, home-like, community residential facility for adolescents experiencing acute psychiatric crisis. The program provides crisis stabilization, clinical consultation, care management, and after-care planning.”

Adolescents collaborate with program staff to identify treatment goals that help guide the overall treatment plan, according to HCRS.

Throughout their stay, HCRS said, adolescents “have an opportunity to reflect on the events leading to their admission, better understand maladaptive coping strategies, focus on skill building, and improve communication with those who support them.”

Upon discharge, the Hospital Diversion Program clinical team works with the adolescent, their family, and a team of providers to create a comprehensive after-care plan.

For 33 years, Northeastern Family Institute has been a Vermont nonprofit agency serving the mental health and special education needs of youth and their families across the state. NFI serves more than 2,800 youth and their families annually.

NFI has had a similar program that has been running in South Burlington for more than 20 years, and they say the introduction of this sister program in Brattleboro will double the number of available beds in the state.

This is particularly important as the numbers of children spending time in emergency rooms while waiting for appropriate mental health care continues to be a problem.

Founded in 1967, HCRS is a nonprofit, community mental-health agency serving Vermonters in Windham and Windsor counties. It serves more than 4,500 individuals every year through its mental-health, substance-abuse, and developmental-disabilities programs.

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