Vermont governor proposes mental health mobile response unit

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has proposed a mobile response unit that would treat mental health emergencies for young people.

A pilot initiative will begin in Rutland before potentially expanding to the rest of the state, said Department of Mental Health Commissioner Sarah Squirrell. The unit would support existing emergency services in Rutland by providing intervention and de-escalation services for children and families in distress, the Rutland Herald reported Saturday.

Rutland was selected for the pilot because it has high numbers of children using emergency department services, Squirrell said.

Scott has said the mobile response unit would be funded by a $600,000 line item in the proposed state budget. Scott and the Legislature would need to pass the budget with the line item intact for the program to move forward, Squirrell said.

Squirrell said the investment could lead to overall savings for taxpayers if intervention is taking place at earlier, less expensive stages instead of emergency room visits.

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