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UCS ramps up services

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BENNINGTON — United Counseling Service has announced that it is increasing services to better help the community during the COVID-19 pandemic with the addition of a "Warm Line" for those who need emotional support or referrals to other resources.

Unlike the hotline, which is meant for those in immediate crisis, the Warm Line is designed to provide early intervention with emotional support that can prevent a crisis and get individuals the immediate help they need, UCS said in a media release.

The Warm Line is also designed to help individuals with referrals for a clinical service or other resources if needed. The service is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling the main office at 802-442-5491.

If the caller needs immediate crisis help, their contact information will be collected, and an emergency service provider will contact them within 10 minutes. For those experiencing a mental health crisis, services are available 24/7.

In addition, UCS is working with Southwestern Vermont Medical Center to offer a rapid Employee Assistance Program for medical staff. Healthcare workers may be at a heightened risk of psychological distress and other mental health problems at this time, UCS said. Staff at SVMC are encouraged to contact UCS if they are struggling or feeling stressed about the current situation.

"During this time, healthcare workers are especially at risk of experiencing mental health issues related to the stress of being on the front lines," said Lorna Mattern, executive director of UCS. "It's hard to conceptualize what the level of need is for additional mental health support for workers, but UCS is ready to provide whatever is needed to help our healthcare partners."

SVMC staff who are utilizing their EAP program can contact UCS directly at 802-442-5491.

UCS, a private, non-profit community mental health center established in1958, provides outpatient counseling and addictions services, emergency mental health services, extensive rehabilitation services, home and school-based services, employment services for people recovering from mental illness or with developmental disabilities and Early Childhood Services. For more information about UCS visit www.ucsvt.org.

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