Getting Mental Health Help FAST
Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: WELLNESS, 2022

Getting Mental Health Help FAST

Walk right in and get mental health services at United Counseling Service’s (UCS) FAST program in Bennington. FAST stands for Find Access to Service and Treatment and is designed to rapidly assess the person’s mental health situation, immediately resolve their issues and offer treatment, provide additional resources, and set up a future appointment with UCS. FAST is open to walk-ins at 100 Ledge Hill Drive 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, or you can connect to FAST through a secure video connection on your computer or phone by calling 802-442-5491.

The FAST program sees individuals when they need help, rather than requiring a long wait for an appointment. At FAST you’ll be connected to a Universal Access Coordinator, who will help you complete the initial assessment. FAST is a first-of-its-kind team approach that helps individuals and families quickly receive mental health and community-based supports. FAST staff provide a more holistic approach and may connect individuals and families to community organizations that can address common stressors such as housing, food, or employment.

“We have seen an extraordinary increase in the number of people reaching out for help. We had to strategize and develop a process that would allow people to access our services when they need it, despite the demand,” said Lorna Mattern, executive director. “We have worked hard to develop the FAST process to assist individuals and families in getting what they need, when they need it.”

FAST is also available virtually for anyone who has challenges getting to the United Counseling Service’s Bennington campus. The virtual option extends FAST to individuals throughout Bennington County. Call 802-442-5491 to arrange a secure virtual FAST visit and get the mental health support you need.

Since its inception, the FAST program has helped more than 400 individuals, 96 percent of whom said the experience was helpful. Being able to walk in and be seen by a mental health team almost immediately is a crucial step towards supporting one’s mental health as part of your overall health needs.

United Counseling Service (UCS) is a private, non-profit community mental health center that has been an essential part of Bennington County’s integrated healthcare system since 1958. The organization has been designated as a Center of Excellence by Vermont Care Partners. UCS promotes healthy lifestyles through all its programs and offers care at 15 different facilities, including two primary outpatient facilities in Bennington and Manchester. UCS provides outpatient counseling and addiction services, emergency mental health services, extensive rehabilitation services, home and school-based services, employment services for people recovering from mental illness or with developmental disabilities, and early childhood services.  For more information visit www.ucsvt.org.

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