Youth Mental Health Program

It’s clear that young Vermonters have unaddressed mental health needs. A comprehensive and collaborative approach is necessary to bridge the gap between mentoring relationships and clinical care. The Youth Mental Health Program has established a structure that will enable mentoring program coordinators and volunteer mentors of various agencies across Vermont to work collaboratively with a psychotherapist to support youth mental health needs.

This program will enable Jen Colman, psychotherapist, to provide professional counseling and coaching to adult mentors in collaboration with program coordinators to better support the mental health needs of youth in mentoring programs across Vermont. Enabling Jen to work directly with mentors as a mental health provider will allow this support system to far exceed the capacity of traditional individualized psychological care, while still maintaining quality, confidentiality, and best practices.

Meet Jen Colman

Jen Colman has a MA degree in Organizational Leadership from University of St. Catherine, in St. Paul, MN, and an MA in Psychology and Counseling from Goddard College in Vermont. She also holds a graduate certificate in Trauma Informed Practice from the University of Vermont and completed the UMatter for Schools Youth Suicide Prevention training. Jen participates in the United Way Mental Health Initiative and UVM health networks, CACH Mental Health and Well-being Team. She is the Founder/Executive Director of Green Mountain Mobile Therapy, a nonprofit organization, that provides accessible mental health and social-emotional services for children and adolescents in a unique micro-transit mobile mental healthcare model. It is the only mobile mental healthcare unit currently operating in Vermont.

Youth Mental Health Program Components

The program components below are designed to support mentors and program staff, to provide strategies and answer questions they may have around how best to support the mental health of the youth they serve.

Monthly Office Hours for Mentors

Providing direct support to mentors through monthly group Zoom calls for mentors who would like additional support in navigating mental health challenges their mentee may be experiencing. Examples of topics that may impact a young person’s mental health include: friendships and social navigation, changing bodies, divorce, changing family dynamics, school grades, etc. These office hours are intended for mentors to receive support from a licensed clinical psychotherapist on issues that are impacting a young person’s ability to thrive.

  • Mentoring Coordinators are invited and encouraged to attend (especially if one of their mentors is attending)
  • If any situation arises during the call that requires a private or more in-depth consultation, Jen, the program coordinator, and mentor will schedule a follow-up time to connect

Upcoming Sessions 

Program Coordinator Group Check-ins

These every other month Zoom calls are a designated time for program coordinators to meet with Jen as a small group to discuss what they are seeing around youth mental health, gain knowledge and tools, and check in on their own well-being.

Upcoming Sessions 

Independent Consultations

Some situations can’t wait until the next month’s office hours or require more in-depth support – for situations like this, mentoring coordinators are invited to reach out to Jen directly.

Youth Mental Health 101 Training Module

This resource is currently in devlopment and will be available through MENTOR Vermont’s learning management system in Summer 2024.

“Jen has been an incredible resource to me as a mentor. My mentee has been subjected to some very challenging situations at home which can result in her dissociating when frustrated and being overwhelmed by the trauma that has been inflicted upon her. Jen has always offered me advice on how to best support my mentee through situations I am not trained in. Jen helps give me the confidence I need to provide a higher level of care and support for my mentee. She also has been impeccable at helping me not feel alone in navigating my own emotions in response to hearing about the trauma my mentee has been subjected to. Jen is an invaluable resource and cares so deeply for young people.”
– Jenny, Mentor

“I began volunteering as a mentor a little over a year ago. I did not quite know what it would be like to mentor a child. My mentee unfortunately has intense and difficult family situations and circumstances. We have had to deal with a lot this past year and Jen Coleman has been a tremendous support as we navigate these tough family dynamics. Having a peer like Jen has immense benefits in both personal and professional growth… Having Jen attend virtual calls and provide helpful advice can significantly enhance our impact as mentors in the program.”
– Aidan, Mentor