New Mobile Response Services Meet Kids Where They Are

Rutland’s Mobile Response and Stabilization Services helps families manage mental, emotional, and behavioral challenges to prevent crises

Community Mental Health is built upon the foundation of “meeting people where they are”. Rutland Mental Health’s Child & Family Services aims to do just that with new Mobile Response and Stabilization Services (MRSS) helping kids and their families manage mental, emotional, and behavioral challenges before they escalate to a crisis level. 

Funded by a $600k grant from the Vermont Department of Mental Health, the MRSS program began piloting services in Rutland County on October 4, 2021. Now, children, youth, and families experiencing emotional and behavioral challenges can call (802) 345-3080 to receive support Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The pilot program continues to develop despite nationwide hiring challenges. As the team grows, operating hours will expand into the evenings and weekends. 

What can families expect during a Mobile Response Visit? 

When families reach out to Mobile Response & Stabilization Services for support, a clinician and case manager will respond within an hour of their call and meet families at their preferred location, whether in their home, at a park, or another location. During an initial visit, the case manager and clinician work together to gather information, explore and identify the types of supports that could be most helpful, assess safety needs, and work with families to develop a care plan.   

Emergency Room Diversion and Upstream Support for Kids & Families

The Mobile Response & Stabilization Services could prove effective in diverting distressed youth and children from emergency department visits for mental health crises. A recent statewide analysis by the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (VAHHS) found that as many as 14 children at a time have been stuck in hospital emergency departments waiting for psychiatric inpatient care.  Most of them wait for over 24 hours.

The MRSS pilot in Rutland County comes after extensive research and data showing the success of similar programs in other states, including Connecticut, New Jersey, and Washington. These programs were shown to reduce emergency department visits among children, help children in foster care remain in their first placements, and divert hospital admissions. 

Community Care Network is a consortium of programs providing behavioral health, developmental disabilities, volunteer, and early childhood education services to the greater Rutland Region in Southern Vermont. Our organization enhances the health and well-being of those we serve through responsive, innovative, and collaborative services that offer support across the lifespan.

This article is part of a series collaboratively produced by Vermont Care Partners and its members.  Vermont Care Partners is a statewide network of sixteen non-profit, community-based agencies providing mental health, substance use and intellectual and developmental disability support.