Our Commitment to Mental Health

Community members huddling and showing support

With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, we share our commitment to the access of mental health support and care, along with available resources.

Our active lifestyle in Vermont means we spend a lot of time doing things that are good for our bodies and our physical health. But protecting and improving our mental health is just as important, as it plays a significant role in overall health and well-being. 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we believe in the importance of access to mental health support and care. That’s why we advocate for mental health care and access to support for all Vermonters, and partner with many organizations across the state that have made mental health their mission. 

Giving Support to Other Non-Profits   

Through our charitable giving, Blue Cross works with many organizations that address mental health needs, including:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness — A statewide non-profit, grassroots volunteer organization that provides education, support, and advocacy on mental health issues.
  • Center for Health and Learning — A non-profit organization focused on building a foundation for healthy schools and communities through training, policy, evaluation, research, and resource development.
    • VT Suicide Prevention Center — A program of the Center for Health and Learning that serves as a state-wide resource fostering a sustainable approach to suicide prevention.
  • Spectrum Youth and Family Services — An organization that empowers teenagers, young adults, and their families to make and sustain positive changes through prevention, intervention, and life skills services.
  • Centerpoint — An organization focused on providing treatment & educational support and programs to teens, young adults, and their families faced with emotional, behavioral, mental health, substance abuse, or special learning needs.
  • Howard Center — An organization that helps people and communities thrive by providing supports and services to address mental health, substance use, and developmental needs.

Support for the Listen Up Project

We are also honored to support the Listen Up Project, a unique project that assists teens, helping them and their communities deal with trauma, mental health issues, and anxiety. The touring musical was inspired, written, scored, and performed by Vermont teenagers. Listen Up gives teens a voice and empowers them to share their experiences, acting as an important catalyst for important conversations within our families and communities.

Eight live shows were held across Vermont last August and a film of the production is available for schools, youth clubs, afterschool programs, and other community organizations. Screenings and discussions will be held in more than 30 schools and 20 public locations, with more screenings happening this year throughout Vermont. A screening was also held for members of the Vermont Legislature, to help educate policymakers on the challenges facing our future generations.

Collaboration with Brattleboro Retreat

Another way we’re advancing access to mental health support and a whole-person approach to health care is through our collaboration with the Brattleboro Retreat, a not-for-profit psychiatric and substance use disorder treatment hospital located in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Since 2013, Blue Cross and the Brattleboro Retreat have operated a joint-venture partnership called Vermont Collaborative Care. Under the partnership, Blue Cross and the Brattleboro Retreat employ mental health professionals who work at the Blue Cross office in Berlin. This close working relationship helps integrate management of physical and mental health benefits, and ensures that Blue Cross members receive treatment for the whole person.

“Before Vermont Collaborative Care, mental health and physical health were managed separately,” says Kurt White, Brattleboro Retreat’s Vice President of Outpatient Services. “But mental health is an integral part of a person’s overall health, and is often connected to other health conditions, so it’s important to treat them together. For almost a decade, our partnership with Blue Cross has been delivering coordinated care and making health care work better for Vermonters.”

Your Mental Health Resources

If you, a family member, or a friend are experiencing mental health issues, get support to feel better.  Safe, judgement-free, and confidential support is available from these organizations:

  • First Call for Chittenden County — crisis intervention and assessment (802) 488-7777.
  • VT Crisis Text Line — Text “VT” to 741741.
  • VT 2-1-1 — live referral help to state and community services. Dial 2-1-1 or visit their website.
  • VT Help Link – confidential support and referrals to substance use related treatment, recovery, and other services.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — 800-273-TALK (8255).
  • The Trevor Project — 24/7 info and support for LGBTQ+ young people.
  • Child Mind Institute — educational resources to support kids with mental health issues and coping skills.

In addition, many people have access to employee assistance programs through their workplaces. These programs can provide confidential consultations, counseling, and other services to help with mental health issues.