Health Briefs

Staffing changes at Putney Family Services

PUTNEY >> Putney Family Services is redefining its priorities and will be looking for new leadership, according to Dylan Devlin, co-chairman of the organization's board.

"Since Patricia Field has left as executive director, in the near future we'll be seeking a new person to lead the organization," Devlin said. "We're looking at this as an opportunity to re-examine our mission and our activities before we begin a search. In the meantime, we're very fortunate that Kathy Bartlett has agreed to help us with day-to-day operations so that we can guide people who may need emergency help."

Putney Family Services, a non-profit, has served Putney residents for over 25 years, connecting them with services and resources and organizing activities for families. Among other activities, the organization welcomes new babies and sponsors a Red Cross training for babysitters and a story-hour for toddlers at the Putney Library.

"We're looking forward to continuing the serve the families of Putney," Devlin said. "Anyone who might need our services is welcome to call the Putney Family Services office, at 387-2120."

BMH launches "Mindful Eating For Weight Loss" workshop series

BRATTLEBORO >> Brattleboro Memorial Hospital's Community Health Team will present a free four-part workshop series focused on the role of mindful eating for those seeking to lose weight.

Presented by Peg Canal MS, RD, CDE Nutritionist/ Registered Dietitian/Certified Diabetes Educator, Carrie Quimby MS, RD Nutritionist/ Registered Dietitian and Nancy Schaefer, BS Health Coach, the workshop series will help participants identify triggers that contribute to unhealthy eating and learn to develop mindful eating practices.

"Many people have a difficult time changing their eating habits even though they know they are not good for them," said Canal, one of the series' presenters. "Mindful eating can be an effective strategy for eating less, enjoying food more and losing weight."

All series events will be held in BMH's Brew Barry Conference Room No. 1 on Tuesdays, Jan. 19 through Feb. 9 from 6 to 7 p.m.

Participants will also gain knowledge on food preparation for optimal nutrition and have the opportunity to prepare and taste delicious healthy food. The workshop is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is strongly suggested. Those with questions or wishing to register should call 802-257-8877.

NAMI hosts mental health workshop at BMH

BRATTLEBORO >> The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Vermont will offer a free workshop open to the public entitled "Mental Illness and Recovery," at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital on Feb. 20. The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Conference Room 2 of BMH. This opportunity is open to peers, family members, friends and any community members interested in learning more about mental illness.

The workshop includes information about the incidence of mental illnesses worldwide; diagnosis, treatment and recovery techniques for bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, dual diagnosis, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder; as well as resources and treatment services available in Vermont. Pre-registrations are encouraged but walk-ins are also welcome.

For more information or to register, call NAMI Vermont at 802-876-7949 or visit

YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program to be offered at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital

BRATTLEBORO >> The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program helps adults at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes reduce their risk for developing the disease by taking steps that will improve their overall health and well-being.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention led evidence-based program is delivered over a 12-month period in a supportive small group classroom setting. Sixteen weekly one-hour sessions are followed by eight monthly sessions. Facilitated by trained lifestyle coaches Terri Kneipp and Nancy Schaefer, the class is scheduled to begin Jan. 21, and will be held at BMH from 3 to 4 p.m.

Through a partnership with the Greater Burlington YMCA and Vermont Blueprint for Health (Department of Vermont Health Access), this program is being offered to Vermonters free of charge.

"The Vermont Department of Health estimates 25 to 30 percent of Vermont adults have prediabetes," according to Wendy Cornwell, BMH's Director of Community Initiatives and its Blueprint for Health project. "Most people with prediabetes are not aware of their condition. If left untreated, 75 percent of those with prediabetes will develop diabetes within 10 years."

The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program is based on the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program led by the National Institutes of Health, in collaboration with CDC, which showed that lifestyle changes and modest weight reduction can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent among those with prediabetes.

In order to qualify for the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program, participants must be at least 18 years old, overweight (BMI 25) and at high risk for developing type 2 Diabetes or have been diagnosed with prediabetes.

The workshop is free and open to anyone over 18 meeting the criteria, but pre-registration is required. Those with questions or wishing to register should call 802-257-8867.

HCRS supports families

SPRINGFIELD >> Health Care and Rehabilitation Services has a team of dedicated, professional staff within its Children, Youth, and Families Division who provide comprehensive supports for families in need. These services are designed to meet families where they are at — in their community or within local schools — to assist each child and family to lead happy and healthy lives.

HCRS' clients often include children in crisis, no longer attending school because of cyber bullying, in a depression so deep he or she can't get out of bed, anxiety so intense she doesn't want to leave home. A teenager has a best friend who hung himself two years ago. He tells his teacher, "I'm thinking of killing myself. I tried pills and cutting. I'm thinking of trying again."

Parents come to an HCRS office scared; their child is in a psychiatric hospital. They have heard from someone in the community that HCRS can help find resources and solutions when other efforts have failed.

HCRS staff mobilize around the unique needs of each child and family. They meet the parents, get releases signed, and start making calls to involved community providers: The Brattleboro Retreat, Department for Children and Families, the Department of Mental Health. A week later a Coordinated Services Planning meeting is held to plan the child's reintegration back to family and the community, or to a higher level of care. A support team sits around a wooden conference room table at HCRS: an HCRS clinician, an HCRS case manager, supervisor, crisis team staff person, a school representative, DCF worker, and of course the family.

Founded in 1967, HCRS is a non-profit, community mental health agency serving Vermonters in Windham and Windsor counties. For more information regarding HCRS' Children, Youth, and Families Program, please visit HCRS' website at or contact Will Shakespeare, Program Director, at 802-254-6028.


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