United Way of Northwest Vermont
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Mental Health Initiative

United Way of Northwest Vermont’s Mental Health Initiative is a multi-year collective impact project leveraging the participation of 150+ community members working together to solve, at scale, many of our most pressing problems in the system of mental health care.


  • Addressing Vermont’s critical labor shortage of mental health providers;

  • Strengthening and aligning resources for suicide prevention; and

  • Responding to the acute rise in youth mental health needs.

Our participants come from the many places that now overlap with the mental health system of care, including schools, early childhood and higher education, housing, transportation, local and state government, religious and civic groups, and of course direct care providers and community members with lived experience. Together we are identifying and addressing gaps and bottlenecks in the system of mental health care.

current projects

  • Pathways to Wellbeing: High School to College
  • Strengthening our Community through Protective Factors (Mental Health First Aid)
  • Mapping the Mental Health System of Care
  • Building Out Suicide Prevention Resources
  • Making Room for Wellness: Stand-Alone Pods for Youth Therapy

LEARN MORE & Get involved


See Collaboration in action

Meet Erica

Erica recently became a certified trainer in Mental Health First Aid, a national training program that teaches participants to identify and respond to symptoms of mental illness and substance use disorder. Erica is one of 10 community members the United Way’s Mental Health Initiative is supporting with MHFA training as part of our work to more than double the number of mental health first aid trainers in the state.



Key partners who help guide the Mental Health Initiative’s work include Howard Center, Northwestern Counseling & Support Services (NCSS), Vermont Care Partners, Spectrum Youth & Family Services, Vermont Suicide Prevention Center, and NAMI Vermont. Our Core Team also includes representation from University of Vermont Medical Center, Vermont Health Equity Initiative, Vermont Community Foundation, Vermont Psychiatric Survivors, and the State Legislature.

The Mental Health Initiative is made possible thanks to funding from the UVM Health Network, IBM and generous individual donors.


Mental Health Initiative Newsletter

Sign up to receive news & updates! You can also read past newsletters by clicking on the links below.

Looking for earlier newsletters? Contact us.


An Employer Guide to Supporting Employee Mental Health was developed by United Way’s Working Bridges program and the Mental Health Initiative and is available online here: bit.ly/mental-health-toolkit.

The guide includes local resources, tips for recognizing and responding to mental health challenges, and recommended policies, benefits and everyday practices to build a supportive and inclusive workplace culture.

Additional Mental Health Resources

Vermont 2-1-1: A program of United Ways of Vermont, Vermont 2-1-1 is a statewide, confidential information and referral helpline that connects callers to available human services.
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, 988 provides 24/7 connection to confidential support with local counselors and mental health professionals.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Vermont: Resources for people having thoughts of suicide as well as suicide loss support groups and other resources for families and friends.
Howard Center’s First Call (Chittenden County): 802-488-7777. Phone support, crisis intervention, assessment and referrals.
NCSS Emergency Services Hotline (Franklin & Grand Isle Counties): 802-524-6554.
Vermont Care Partners – Vermont Mental Health Agencies: Mental health services information and crisis lines listed by county.
CAMS-trained Providers: A registry of Vermont Independent Mental Health Providers Trained in Suicide Specific Treatment Protocols.
Pathways Vermont Support Line: Peer support line open 24/7. Call or text (833) VT-TALKS / (833) 888-2557.
NAMI Vermont: Free peer and family support groups.
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 (24 hours a day, seven days a week).
Outright Vermont: Support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Trevor Lifeline: 1-866- 488-7386 – provides suicide prevention and crisis intervention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people. It offers free, 24/7, confidential counseling. TrevorText—text START to 678-678; TrevorChat—instant messaging at TheTrevorProject.org/help. It also runs TrevorSpace, an affirming social networking site for LGBTQ youth at TrevorSpace.
Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860. A peer support phone service run by trans people for trans and questioning peers.
Veterans Crisis Line: 24/7, confidential crisis support for Veterans and their loved ones. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or Text 838255. Online chat also available.
Vermont Directory of BIPOC Mental Health and Wellness Practitioners: A directory of providers working (or licensed to work) in the state of Vermont and who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color. This is a public list, accessible to anyone via the internet, meant to promote the visibility of BIPOC providers and assist with referrals for clients who are seeking BIPOC providers.
Vermont Older Adults Helpline: Toll-free, confidential Helpline can be reached by calling 1-800-642-5119. The Helpline is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. After hours, please leave a message on the Helpline and they will reach out to you during their business hours.


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Mental Health Toolkit

Download our Mental Health Toolkit for Employers

Download Toolkit

United Way of Northwest Vermont*** September 13, 2023