Community Matters
May 2022
Balancing the Need for Information With Your Mental Health
There are so many sources of stress. Our own or a family member’s health issues, the death of a close family member, moving or changing jobs, relationship trouble, financial difficulty, guilt, and work- or school-related worries are all classic stressors. More and more, people identify the global situation and their exposure to news as a major source of stress. This makes sense, given that the news cycles have been inundated with breaking headlines from COVID-19, protests, political races, and global conflicts. While these stories are crucial in keeping the public informed of world events, we are feeling the toll of the news on our mental health...Read more.

Written by Katie Aiken, MSW, Outpatient/Blueprint clinician with UCS
The Power of Connection to End Bullying
Join us Wednesday, May 4 at 6pm for virtual screening.
United Counseling Service (UCS) will be presenting a virtual screening of the Indieflix documentary, The Upstanders on Wednesday, May 4 at 6pm.

The Upstanders delves deep into cyber-bullying, showing the perspectives of those who bully, their victims, and the trauma of the bystander. Woven through this film is the very personal, first-hand account of a family’s tragic loss that inspired new legislation to turn the tide against this very real epidemic.

Covid-19 has only acerbated this problem of cyber-abuse, by providing a bully-ripe environment of isolation, anxiety and increased time on screens. Most often driven by pain, bullies are searching for that jolt of power when putting someone else down – and youth are experiencing plenty of pain right now.

The screening of the film will be followed by a panel discussion facilitated by Jason Fleming, UCS’ Director of Children, Youth and Family Services Division. “We are excited to continue this UCS Presents series with the community,” said Fleming, “It’s important for people to understand that their online actions affect real people.”

This screening is part of an initiative by Vermont Care Partners and additional screenings will be taking place across the state. This event is free; however, registration is required.
United Counseling Service: The equestrian redemption
In a time in the world where mental health has dominated the lives of millions, the need for resources to combat this epidemic is pressing. Bouts of isolation over the last few years, alone, have exposed the reality of the conditions of people’s mental health and stirred up the traumas and suffrage that had, at one point, thought to have been securely suppressed. Not only are we battling, collectively, the years of this pandemic but, as we all know, life doesn’t stop in the midst of incoherence. Fresh wounds, debilitating loss, and an avalanching accumulation of trouble is where most of us have found ourselves; at least that’s where I know I found myself— bound to the captivity of a dark pit where I laid traumatized, hopeless, and desperate for an escape from the hell I buried myself in. I lingered so long in the realm of darkness that I had adapted to the lifestyle; I became a resident of depression and I decorated my environment with incessant thoughts of worthlessness, shame, and suicidal ideations. Death became palatable—I believed that to be my only answer, sunken down too far for any possible revival. Yet right there amid the dense haze of darkness, one last prayer for help, for resources, for light saved my life...Read VT Digger Editorial.
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Celebrating the Week of the Young Child
The annual Week of the Young Child (WOYC) was held April 2-9 this year and celebrated internationally by many. The purpose of the Week of the Young Child is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs (NAEYC). This year marked the 51st WOYC and children and their families enrolled at Bennington County Head Start/ Early Head Start centers in Bennington, North Bennington, and Pownal joined in the celebrations.

On Music Monday, children sang new songs, danced, made instruments, held classroom parades, and even made binoculars to dance to a new going on a bear hunt.

On Tasty Tuesday, children tried new snacks and held taste tests. Preschoolers made their own snacks. Infants and toddlers explored new fruit and vegetables toys. The program was honored to provide a tasty lunch to all staff, thanking them for their work with children and families.

On Work Together Wednesday, classrooms planned group experiences for children to work together on a variety of activities and projects. Infants and toddlers started their green bean gardens from seed and made collage murals in their classrooms.

On Artsy Thursday, children of all ages used a variety of mediums to create artwork like stamping and ink, watercolors, color mixing and three dimensional butterflies.

Family Friday rounded out the week. We celebrated families as a child’s first and most important teacher, taking family pictures and using large frames created and decorated by the children as a keepsake to remember all the fun we had this week!

Written by Rebecca L. Bishop, Assistant Director of United Children’s Services.
Articles of interest
Dr. Ashley Miller: Mental health crisis is overwhelming our primary care system. Read the VT Digger Commentary.

"It's Life or Death": The Mental Health Crisis Among U.S Teens. Read the New York Times Article.
We ❤️ Our Staff
Our employees are creative, thoughtful, energetic, forward-thinking and empowered. If you or someone you know wants to make a difference and help those who need it most, consider joining UCS. Visit to learn more.
We are here for you,
will you be here for us?
We have a deep commitment to building a stronger community. Our staff are driven by a common purpose to do the right thing for our clients, our community, and each other. In the past year, calls for our services grew by 134%. The demand for our services is ever-increasing while our funding is not.

Your support is crucial. Our goal is to raise $100,000. Please consider contributing any amount today. Together we can continue to build a stronger community.

Donations can be mailed to:
United Counseling Service
PO Box 588
Bennington, VT 05201
We are all in this together. We continue to follow guidance from public health officials and government agencies regarding COVID-19, so we can continue to support our community.
(802) 442-5491 |