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Community Health Presents Video Blog “Unity Through Community”

RUTLAND – “So many families have a belief that mental health services are only for when you are in an acute crisis,” said Anne Hopkinson, LICSW, the social worker at Community Health Shorewell. Hopkinson, who grew up in Addison County, says it’s important to understand that culturally, people in rural Vermont see behavioral health as separate from physical health and wellness. At Community Health, behavioral health is an integral part of primary care and overall wellness.

Meet Anne Hopkinson, Ashley Rick, Jason Keicher and Eleanor Grabach, licensed social workers, on “Unity Through Community,” a video blog created to address what’s been making our lives difficult and how to deal with these issues.

Community Health Behavioral Health Manager Christopher Chadwick said the one way to deal with pressure, change and negative thoughts is to talk about them.

“Unity Through Community” video blog, focuses on the importance of connecting those in need with the services and the safety net that exists in the community through Community Health’s medical and behavioral health resources.

“Typically in the month of September during Suicide Prevention Month, we are out in the community taking part in events and walks, showing support for programs that address behavioral health issues like suicide or child abuse prevention,” Chadwick said. “This year, we are online, using our voices to share guidance and information about how to understand and deal with the sadness, anxiety, and depression that can result from the stresses we are all experiencing.”

In the most recent video, Grabach, a licensed social worker at the Rutland practice, shares her basic approach to understanding how to read the messages our bodies and minds are sending. “Over the past few months anxiety and worry consumed most everyone as the pandemic altered our lives and has overwhelmed almost all of our normal routines,” Grabach said. “Pay attention to activities that give you a chance to re-set, re-charge, re-group, allowing you to access the calm, optimized and problem solving parts of yourself.” These keys to understanding are presented in her video blog.

Some patients don’t understand what services they need, or why they feel so bad every day, Chadwick said. Community Health has integrated behavioral health care options into all of the primary care services at all of its practices. “When they get into their primary care appointment, their provider is able to understand a behavioral health issue that they might not have considered. Having behavioral health in the practice is a service line that is available to them.”

“I am really proud of our state,” Hopkinson said, regarding the pandemic response. “Vermonters are so reclusive anyway,” she said. “We were social distancing our whole lives. A lot of time big news happens, and Vermonters watch from afar. It very rarely comes up here and actually affects us. The hurricane was the last time something really big hit our state and this pandemic is affecting us and affecting the way we move around. We still have these old structures of community in place which really, really helped us,” she said.

“Collaboration with behavioral health at all of the Community Health practices has been great,” Chadwick said. And Community Health’s Telehealth service offers a new option of connecting virtually. “ Providers have done a great job having patients continue to receive services from the safety of their homes and at the same time be able to continue the services they were having coming to the office.”

Community Health is Vermont’s largest FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center), a network of primary care, pediatric, behavioral health, dental and pharmacy services with offices in Rutland, Brandon, Castleton, West Pawlet and Shoreham. Community Dental offices are located in Rutland and Shoreham, Community Health Pediatrics is in Rutland and Behavioral Health services are available at all of our locations. Community Health Express Care centers, open 7 days-a-week, are located at the Rutland and Castleton Community Health Centers.

All Community Health locations are open and accepting patients. For more information about career opportunities, hours and Community Health locations check our website.

The mission of Community Health (Community Health Centers of the Rutland Region) is to improve the health and wellness of all people in the communities we serve by providing access to excellent medical and dental primary care regardless of any financial consideration.

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