Senator Ashe visits NCSS
A thank you and discussion of difficult topics that affect the health of the community
Senate President Pro Tem, Tim Ashe, recently visited Northwestern Counseling & Support Services (NCSS) as part of his state-wide listening tour to determine the legislative needs relative to mental health service providers. He met with about 20 NCSS employees and Lieutenant Maurice Lamothe, Station Commander of the Vermont State Police, St. Albans Barracks.
Todd Bauman, NCSS Executive Director, thanked Senator Ashe, D/P-Chittenden, on behalf of the staff, for his efforts to increase state funding for mental health workers. The workforce investment funding, to allow a $14 minimum wage, has helped to ease the ongoing struggle to not only hire but retain employees.
Senator Ashe spoke about the importance of the work that staff provides each day. Many times the value of the work relative to mental health, substance use, and individuals with intellectual disabilities is taken for granted.
The discussion covered numerous topics including the acuity level of an increasing number of students; the integration of NCSS staff into environments ranging from the Emergency Department and primary care providers to law enforcement and the NOTCH locations; wellness; workforce development, loan repayment programs, and the savings that NCSS provides the health care system through innovative programming.
Lieutenant Lamothe summed up the importance of the work being provided by NCSS staff when he stated that having a mental health clinician embedded in the Vermont State Police, St. Albans Barracks, is the best program that’s been offered in his twenty years with the Vermont State Police.
Senator Ashe noted that when there’s no news being reported in the community that means great work is being done.
The NCSS staff in attendance appreciated that Senator Ashe took time to learn about the successes and challenges being faced by NCSS to create a stronger community one person at a time.
Senator Ashe listens as Todd Bauman, Executive Director, discusses the success that NCSS has had in collaborating with NMC to reduce Emergency Department visits with 48 NCSS clients by 61%.