Vermont Moves to Community Care After Hurricane Destroys State Hospital


Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin “is going to use this tragedy of losing our State Hospital during (hurricane) Irene as an opportunity to deliver the best quality community-based mental health care in the country.” The hospital will be replaced by a 16-bed “last resort,” with the state’s focus shifting to building a network of smaller, community-based approaches.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. For those of you following this story, it appears that the Governor reached a compromise with legistlators to go ahead with plans for a 25 bed facility rather than the 16 beds he had proposed. This could change in the next few years as a variety of community programs are funded and become available to help reduce the need for hsopitalization.

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  2. What sort of community treatment is being proposed? Forced drugging or “ACT/AOT”? I doubt this community based treatment idea will be a good idea after years of brainwashing the public into thinking that neuroleptic drugs are essential treatments.

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