• Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Peter Welch, and Rep. Becca Balint hosted a “town meeting on youth mental health” on June 29 at Spaulding High School in Barre. Sanders cited “a mental health crisis in America,” particularly “for our young people, who are living with enormous stress, anxiety, and loneliness,” as he put it.

• On July 1, Bennington’s Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, along with 25 associated primary and specialty care practices, joined Dartmouth Health, a system of hospitals and clinics that includes Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH.

• State Treasurer Mike Pieciak organized a “virtual policy forum on homelessness” on July 24, inviting Lindsay Mesa from Pathways Vermont, Will Eberle from Recovery Vermont, Jess Graff from the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness, Maura Collins from the Vermont Housing Finance Authority, and author Gregg Colburn. According to a press release, “Professor Colburn argued the cost and availability of rental housing best explains the rate of homelessness in a given community rather than individual factors like mental illness or generosity of public assistance.”

• Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury held a ribbon-cutting on July 25 for a new “mental health support area” in its emergency department. Funded by a $3 million Congressional earmark, the Patrick and Marcelle Leahy Suite adds “four patient rooms and two easily accessible bathrooms; a staff station; and a social room for commingling, consultation and family meetings,” per NVRH.

• The Vermont Attorney General and the Chittenden County State’s Attorney announced on Aug. 3 that they would not prosecute Burlington Police Department Sergeant Simon Bombard for a non-fatal shooting of a suicidal man on Manhattan Drive, which also saw the occupied vehicle of a passerby struck by an errant bullet.

• The Vermont Attorney General is investigating the Brattleboro Retreat, Vermont’s largest psychiatric hospital, for Medicaid fraud. Ongoing since 2020, the investigation became public in August when the AG petitioned a state court to force the Retreat to turn over relevant documents.

• Centerpoint Adolescent Treatment Services, which offers outpatient counseling for young adults in Chittenden County and operates a therapeutic school, will close on Sept. 1 due to a budgetary deficit, according to its three parent organizations: Howard Center, Northeastern Family Institute VT, and Matrix Health Systems. Howard Center, facing financial difficulties of its own, will phase out three additional programs by the end of the year.

• The U.S. Department of Education awarded an $820,000 grant to Vermont State University to support full-time paid internships for graduate students who will serve as counselors in K-12 schools currently deemed to lack sufficient mental health services, starting this fall.

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