Demand for mental health care surges

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 5:19 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Demand for mental health services is surging and it’s leading to waitlists for care.

Washington County Mental Health Services tells us their call volume has doubled.

Their director of counseling and psychological services says in the 30 years she’s worked there, she’s only seen demand like this once before during the ’90s.

Their waitlist is up to 100 people, which means people might wait 8-10 weeks for individual therapy.

“It is a concern, and people I think COVID, the impact at this point has a lot to do with its length, and people are feeling tired, isolated and really stressed about finances,” said Margaret Joyal of Washington County Mental Health Services.

Their adult access program reaches people who need immediate care within 48 hours, along with emergency services support when it’s needed.

They also have case managers who go into the community to help and different virtual programs offering things like art or yoga to help people find a sense of community and stress relief.

Watch the video to see our Cat Viglienzoni’s full interview with Margaret Joyal and Sally Olmstead of Washington County Mental Health Services.

If you or someone you know needs help, here are resources that can help:


Hotlines & Screening Tools

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255)

VT Crisis Text Line: Text “VT” to 741741

Text VT to 741741 - Crisis Text Line is FREE - 24/7 support.

You get an automated text response first, and then a response from a trained crisis counselor. They work with you until you are cool and calm and have a positive plan for next steps.

The Trevor Project:

Trevor Lifeline: 866-488-7386 Trevor Chat: 202-304-1200 Trevor Text: Text the word “Trevor”

Providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.

Vermont Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline


Vermont Statewide Sexual Violence Hotline

800-489-7273 802-565-LINK

Connects people to the drug and alcohol support services they need.

Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860

Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and PRESS 1

Mental Health Agency Crisis Line Numbers by Region:

PDF Download

Vermont 211:

• Dial 2-1-1 anywhere in Vermont or visit to get live referral help to public and private state and community services.

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