Health Care

Pandemic Generation in mental health crisis – call 988

By Guy Page
Mental health suffering in Vermont was rising before the pandemic, and it got worse due to the pandemic’s unprecedented isolation, change, and reduced access to services, state mental health officials recognized at Gov. Phil Scott’s press conference today.

In 2020, there were 903 hospital visits for intentional self-harm and 117 deaths by suicide in Vermont. Vermont’s intentional self-harm and death by suicide rates are significantly higher than the United States rate, the Vermont Department of Health said. Also, drug overdoses are at an alltime high.

911 lifeline calls jumped from an average of 350 calls to 500 this January. Other first-response calls for mental health crises also are up, state officials said.

Children in particular are reaching out for help. “Pre-pandemic there were alarmingly high rates of anxiety and depression,” Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine said. “None of those got better during the pandemic, they just got worse.”

State officials announced today that beginning Saturday, Vermonters in mental health crisis and their family members and loved ones will be able to call 988 for Vermont-based counseling and care.

Unlike 911, the 988 hotline is dedicated to suicide prevention and other mental health crises, and is staffed by trained mental health professionals. Vermont’s participation in the national 988 system was enabled by legislation passed this year.

The press conference was also a “bully pulpit” of sorts for state mental health leaders to offer advice.

Please give yourself grace and time,” Alison Krompf, deputy commissioner of the Department of Mental Health, said. “Don’t forget to look for the good out there, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help.”

“A global impact, where everyone was struck at the same time” has “reset” peoples’ lives, Lamoille County Mental Health provider Katina Idol said. It makes sense that in such a time, people were affected.

“Our kids are doing okay. We’re doing okay,” Idol said. “But how do we move beyond okay?”

Idol offered several suggestions, including spending 11 minutes outside. “We live in a beautiful state,” she said. Nutrition, hydration, sleep, recreation, mindfulness and bubble baths help too. And participate in volunteer and faith-based groups – “all these things that help fill you up.”

Gov. Scott drew the connection between the pandemic’s mental health challenges and the growing crime rate – especially drug crime.

“The increase in crime has been exacerbated by the mental health crisis,” he said. Vermont needs to get off the ‘defund the police’ train and do its best to hire high-quality police officers. In recent years “we’ve talked about defunding the police and focusing on the worst actors in that profession. It’s no wonder we’re in this situation.”

Public safety is state government’s #1 priority, and adequate policing is a big part of that, he said. The biggest challenge facing law enforcement is cutting off the out-of-state source of illegal drugs, he said.

Categories: Health Care

12 replies »

  1. Well being raised by crazed leftists who teach you to be terrified of a germ that is unlikely to do much harm to you would be crazy making. Add to that wearing masks endlessly, schools shut down, no sports or activities; and we wonder why the kids aren’t ok?

  2. BE the NUMBER ONE cause by your decisions leading to ; anxiety and depression then, offer your services to the people you made sick by your unconstitutional decisions.

    Right Phil?

  3. Do these people not understand that their own lies are what is biting us all in the ass?
    REMOVE THE ENTIRE POLITICAL “LEADERSHIP” IN VERMONT and start over….no vote machines….paper ballots hand counted and witnessed……..

  4. Worst part is there never was a ‘Medical’ pandemic…only a ‘Government’ created one.

    CV 19 (AKA the flu’s) death toll was just another flu season and if you get rid of the people who died with covid (from the fake PCR tests) VS those who died of covid then you get a much lower number.

    Vermonters….you have been so conned.

  5. Mental illness” is a theoretical. People are frightened, confused, malnourished. They’ve come to expect more, often they simply want something that most people, or all people, can’t have. This isn’t a pluperfect world.

    • Mental illnesses are medically categorized based on common symptoms, etiology, etc. To deny this is to add to the problem. Please get more educated on this so you don’t hinder those who need help understanding the seriousness of it.

    • Mental illness is part of the human condition alongside issues like diabetes and heart disease. To assert that it is theoretical is delusional in and of itself. Medical professionals, judges and relgious leaders have been struggling with how to deal with the mentally ill as long as history. I urge you to browse on over to NAMI and educate yourself.

  6. The entire Scott administration, Legislature, and State bureaucrats are responsible. All the blood is on their hands for carrying out crimes against humanity. The fruits of their labor, the fruits of their corruption and collusion have taken root. Now watch as they scramble to blame anyone or anything else but themselves. If they were all charged and prosecuted as they should be under the law, the mental health crisis would likely change. No justice, no peace…that is the boomerang coming at them.

  7. It’s going to get much worse. The entire staff at Vermont NAMI has resigned over policy issues. The outgoing staff was fabulous and helped countless families cope with crisis. Lauri Emerson’s resignation will hurt. We lost a good advocate for mental health. Unfortunately the powers to be within the state at NAMI has become very political. All anecdotal evidence points to marijuana as a culprit into exasperating mental health conditions. This doesn’t sit well with the legislators who voted to allow high dose THC to be sold in our communities. The pandemic didn’t help mental health outcomes but the legislators are at fault and they need to be held accountable for covering up the truth about the violence that people on high potency marijuana perpetrate on the community such as the young adult who attacked women at the Tree Farm last week. This is not over and will get much worse until fair elections can be held in the state of Vermont.

  8. I’m sure the climate cult and moon bat teachers telling their children students that the earth will die in 10 years really helps them with their mental health. They are being taught trash in school instead of preparing them for life. Climate change, transgender acceptance and promotion, racial lies and teaching that America is bad because of its history also helps.

    And then they were told they would get sick and die if they didn’t cover their faces and were required to breathe their own exhaust for hours carrying bacteria in their masks. Then they created the anxiety of being forced to vaccinate with an unapproved experimental drug against their will. Then to top it all off, they weren’t allowed to congregate with their friends, go to sporting events or the mall. The government locked them and the rest of us down and stole two years of our lives and here they come now to save us. It was them who caused all of this.

    These people in government and the legislature do not deserve to be elected again. Ronald Reagon said, “The most terrifying words you could hear are, I’m from the government and I’m here to help”. I think this whole Covid era verifies what he said. Create a problem, scare the people then rush in to fix it. How many have been harmed in one way or another? Most of us!
    Remember in November that elections have consequences, and we are experiencing those consequences now, here and in America.

  9. Dano, Thank you for summing up the agenda and operations of the leftist-run public schools in a nutshell. Their role in creating an entire generation of weak-willed, dependent snowflakes, unable to cope with life’s challenges is unconscionable. The State of Vermont thinks we can clear all this up with another leftist-trained moonbat social worker on the other end of a phone is sad but laughable. Governor Scott shows that he is still basically rooted in reality by pinning appropriate blame on lack of law enforcement and violent, out-of-state street pharmacists.