Feb 16, 2018

Feb. 13th was Suicide Prevention Awareness Day

JoEllen Tarallo of CHL, receives the Resolution
JoEllen Tarallo of CHL, receives the Resolution

I’m writing to tell you about how on Feb. 13th, the Vermont Suicide Prevention Coalition (VT SPC), facilitated by the Center for Health and Learning (CHL), showed up in force at the Vermont State House to raise awareness about suicide prevention.

The Vermont State Legislature designated February 13th, 2018, as Suicide Prevention Awareness Day at the State House.  

In a state where on average, two Vermonters a week die by suicide, this was a tremendous success in getting recognition that suicide is a public health issue and that suicide is preventable.   

Legislators received a red Carnation as they walked into the House Chamber, representing one Vermonter who died by suicide this past year.

In addition to CHL, these organizations participated and/or provided testimony: 

  • Vermont 211
  • VT Dept of Mental Health
  • VT Dept of Health
  • VT Dept of Corrections
  • Support and Services at Home (SASH)
  • Lamoille Cty Mental Health Services
  • UVM Medical Center
  • Northeast Counseling and Support Services
  • Veterans Administration
  • American Foundation of Suicide Prevention-VT Chapter
  • And many individual survivors of suicide attempts and family loss.  

VT SPC Coalition representatives provided testimony to the Senate Transportation Committee on Quechee Bridge mitigation, and to the House Committee on Health Care and the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare to educate them about the ways that the health care system can create a suicide safer pathway to care. 

CHL would like to give a big shout out to Representative Martin Lalonde, who sponsored the Resolution and presented the VT SPC in the House Chamber and to the many Representatives and Senators who showed concern and support. 

By doing this, CHL continues to reinforce the message that health care systems need to integrate best practices for suicide safe care and to remove shame and guilt from talking about suicide. 

Suicide prevention is everyone's business.

Jan 25, 2018

Looking back, looking forward

One of the many CHL presentations in 2017
One of the many CHL presentations in 2017

Retrospective Fall / Winter 2017 at CHL

CHL has accomplished much in the past few months, and in 2017.  Here is a look back at some of our key programs. Along with those below, CHL also offered eight other face to face and online trainings to Substance Abuse Coalitions, Regional Prevention Partnerships, and school districts. Contact us for more information about our trainings and technical assistance!


A day in the life

Every day, CHL takes calls from community members seeking advice on prevention of critical health problems. On any given day, we might field a call from a young person wanting resources for prevention school health promotion project, a school counselor seeking advice about framing the discussion on opioid use to substance abuse at large, a woman in crisis who googled us and needs to be directed to local mental health supports, a county Sheriff who wants training on self-care for secondary trauma, a coalition director who wants assistance with strategic planning and evaluation, a state agency program manager wanting data to inform program planning, or a hospital administrator seeking resources for suicide prevention.

We answer all those calls and we are honored to be a resource in Vermont and New England.

Thanks to our funders, donors, and supporters more than 2500 people over the past year have benefitted from our services addressing critical health issues such as suicide; bullying and harassment; and alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and opioid addiction.  

Here are some examples of what we’ve been able to offer in the last few months of 2017:

Vermont Suicide Prevention Coalition

The VT Suicide Prevention Coalition, convened and facilitated by CHL, advises the VT Suicide Prevention Center, a public-private partnership. VTSPC provides resources to create communities of hope throughout Vermont in which schools, agencies and people of all ages have the knowledge, attitudes, skills and resources to respond effectively to mental health challenges and suicidal behavior.  The Coalition meets four times a year and consists of representatives from public health, education, state agencies, suicide prevention advocacy groups, youth and adult serving leadership, mental health services and survivors throughout the state.  The VTSPC has been a catalyst for change in the field of suicide prevention and education through its work with advocacy at the state level, policy, research, training and technical assistance.

Gun Shop Project

CHL had the honor to be invited to present to 50 attendees at two Gun Clubs.  Each presentation focused on the “Three Step” process for Suicide Prevention: Show you care, Ask about Suicide, and Get Help.  We distributed educational materials tailored to Gun Shops and their clients, and offered Gate Keeper training.  There was also discussion about a collaborative Legislative Day in January.  Attendees asked thoughtful questions and were appreciative of the information. These Clubs are a huge advocate for our Suicide Prevention work, and we hope to further build out this partnership

Umatter for Schools Youth Suicide Prevention Training

This two-day training, delivered to 30 school professionals in Vermont, is designed to help school communities respond to the mental health needs of students and prevent suicide. Once adults know suicidal warning signs and how to help, and the school has prevention and postvention protocols in place with local Mental Health providers, they will be ready to teach suicide prevention lessons using the Lifelines curriculum, an evidence based program of four lessons appropriate for Middle and High School students.

Umatter Youth and Young Adults

Umatter for Youth and Young Adults (Umatter YYA) is a youth mental health promotion leadership and engagement initiative that includes two full days of interactive training with peers statewide, short sessions at the school/ community setting, and design and implementation of Community Action Projects. Our December “kickoff” meeting brought together young people from around the state to participate in a day-long event. The focus of the event was on personal skills training and the process and design of local youth produced Community Action Projects.

Thank you so much for being with us, supporting us in 2017.  We’re looking forward to a productive and healthy 2018.

Umatter Youth and Young Adults
Umatter Youth and Young Adults
Umatter Youth and Young Adults
Umatter Youth and Young Adults
Oct 30, 2017

Updates on Umatter Youth and Young Adults

Umatter classroom that participated in the program
Umatter classroom that participated in the program

Hello all!  First and foremost, I'm really excited to be able to reach out to you and tell you a little about what we're doing with Umatter.  If you have any feedback or ideas you about the program, please feel free to get in touch with me at sara@healthandlearning.org. 

This project report is a submission to GlobalGiving's 2017 Fail Forward Contest, where organizations are asked to share a story of when they tried something new that didn't go as planned and how they learned from it. I want to talk about some mistakes we made last year and how it will inform this year’s Umatter YYA programming. 

Last year, we made a mistake by recruiting and registering more people than we had capacity to serve. We started the project out intending to serve 12 communities, but there was such interest, we ended up working with 19 communities.  While this speaks to the great need for Umatter YYA, it stretched our capacity and impacted our ability to effectively implement the program, so much so that we went over budget. Then we had to conserve funding at the end and we considered changing to a virtual Culmination Event, rather than doing the face-to-face event, much to the consternation of the school districts taking part in the program.  This created some disappointment for participating districts.

What we’ve learned this year is that we need to maintain a limit on the number of communities who participate.  We may be working in fewer communities, but we’ll work effectively and implement every part of the program effectively. 

You’ll be hearing more about Umatter and our other programs as we move forward with end of year fundraising, and with implementing the program itself in the 17 - 18 school year. 

Also, please read this great article about Umatter YYA implemented in South Dakota!



WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.