FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 30, 2007
(contact updated 12/30/11)
BURLINGTON - Second Spring, an 11-bed residence in Williamstown for people recovering from severe and persistent mental illness who are transitioning from Vermont State Hospital back into the community, will host an "Open House" event on Saturday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Gov. Douglas will attend the event and speak about Second Spring as a vital step toward a community-based model that marks a new era in how Vermont cares for people with mental illness.
The Mental Health Futures Advisory Committee was tasked by Governor Jim Douglas in 2004 with developing a way to replace Vermont State Hospital. The advisory committee recommended expanding the community resources for long-term rehabilitation.
“A community-based model for recovery and treatment is essential here in Vermont,” said Governor Douglas. “It is difficult to train and nurture someone to live again in their home community while in a hospital setting. That is something that can only take place by connecting people with a community environment. The Williamstown community, from the beginning when this facility was originally proposed, demonstrated care, respect and a clear understanding of how important it was for Vermont to offer a broader continuum of care.”
Many staff members who have been hired to work at the facility are residents of Williamstown. The program is actively recruiting residents from the Williamstown community to staff Second Spring.
The facility will help reduce the census at Vermont State Hospital, which has consistently operated with a census close to its capacity of 54 beds. Second Spring will increase the discharge rate for long-stay patients at the hospital and provide them with the support they need to return to a community and home (residential) environment.
Patients who are clinically eligible to move to a long-term recovery facility from Vermont State Hospital will begin voluntarily moving to Second Spring during the next several weeks. The Health Department hopes all 11 beds will be occupied by the end of the year.
“A community-based model is more consistent with how treatment and recovery works best in every other area of medicine," said Acting Health Commissioner Sharon Moffatt, RN, MSN. "For people who have mental illness as well as for people who have heart disease or asthma, intensive care in a hospital setting may be needed as well as ongoing care in a community setting. Both settings have a specific role, and both environments are needed for people to recover and have the best possible quality of life."