Berlin, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott and mental health professionals today urged Vermonters to check in on themselves and on others, and to learn about the many mental health supports and resources available throughout the state.
“It’s so important to make sure Vermonters are aware of the mental health resources available to them, as many are still overcoming the hardships caused by this summer’s flooding. For those who are struggling, there are people who want to help you. It’s okay to not be okay, and there’s no shame in asking for help,” said Governor Scott. I know firsthand how independent Vermonters are by nature - many don’t want to ask for help, even when they need it. They don’t want to burden anyone else – but it’s not a burden. We also know Vermonters want to help each other out, they’ve proven it time and time again. I’ve heard directly from people with those stories over the past few weeks, people I wouldn’t have guessed we’re struggling – they hide it well. And this is why it’s so important for people to check in on their neighbors and loved ones. Ask them how they’re doing. Ask them if they need help with anything and be willing to lend a hand if you can. Because again, you never know what someone might be going through until you ask.”
September is also National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, a time when we can focus on helping ourselves and others to navigate stressors and difficulties, and recognize the warning signs that someone is in crisis. In 2022 there were 127 suicide deaths among Vermont residents. This is a slight decrease from 2021.
“We do not need to face our challenges alone. It’s important to recognize that it’s okay not to be okay, and seeking help is a brave step on the journey of healing,” said Department of Mental Health Deputy Commissioner Alison Krompf. “Our individual stories have the power to offer valuable insights and inspiration to others. By listening and sharing our experiences we can start to make it easier to ask for help and get help when we need it.”
People in Vermont are encouraged to take the time to tap into the many state- and community-based services to support their mental and emotional health.
Vermonters can also tap into a broad range of resources, including the state’s network of local designated and specialized service agencies, and national services such as the Trevor Project and the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which provide 24/7 support.
“We see and hear it all. You may feel like your problem isn’t a big deal compared to what others are going through, or that nobody will understand it, or you’ll be judged, or the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t really care and they’re just doing it for a paycheck. Your problem is a big deal. We will listen to you and truly hear you, without judgement. And we care. Nobody does this work for the paycheck. You can’t do this work unless you care deeply. And we will not hang up on you or tell you your time is up. You are not alone,” said Alicia Webb, 998 Lifeline Program Manager.