Partnering With You to Prevent Suicide

by Center for Health & Learning
Partnering With You to Prevent Suicide
Partnering With You to Prevent Suicide
Partnering With You to Prevent Suicide
Partnering With You to Prevent Suicide
Partnering With You to Prevent Suicide
Partnering With You to Prevent Suicide
Partnering With You to Prevent Suicide
Partnering With You to Prevent Suicide
Partnering With You to Prevent Suicide
Partnering With You to Prevent Suicide
Partnering With You to Prevent Suicide
Partnering With You to Prevent Suicide

The Center for Health and Leanring and the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center (VT SPC) is pleased to prsent our 2020 VT SPC Impact Report. 

The Vermont Suicide Prevention Center (VTSPC) is a public-private partnership of the Center for Health and Learning with the VT Agency of Human Services and many partner organizations and individuals. The mission is to create health-promoting communities in which people have the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and resources to reduce suicides in Vermont.  The 2020 Impact Report highlights some of the key achievements of the VT SPC in 2020.  Some noteworthy items from the report:

*At the 2020 Advocacy Day at the Statehouse, we had  60 participants from across the state

*The annual Vermont Suicide Preveniton Symposium was adapted to a virtual format and served over 300 participants.

*Implemtned Umatter® for for Schools online course with 25 participants representing 11 Schools and/ or Mental Health Agencies

*Implemented Umatter® Suicide Prevention Awareness Overview online--3 webinars with 81 participants from 68 organizations

*Implemtned 5 Umatter® Gatekeeper training with 135 participants form 5 organization

AND: the “What is Umatter® YYA” video received first place in the Community Impact Division at the 2020 Nor’easter Video Festival put on by the Alliance for Community Media – Northeast Regions. The video was made in partnership with Brattleboro Community TV. The award recognizes programs that generate community involvement and interest through awareness, empowerment and education. 

Thank you so much for the support that made this possible.  The Impact Report is attached!


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Because of the demands created by the COVID 19 pandemic to avoid in person trainings, CHL and the Vermont Suciide Prevention Center has moved our Umatter® for Schools training to an entirely online format!

CHL developed and implemented Umatter, a national best practice program and public information campaign for suicide prevention that promotes mental health, teaches self-care, risk assessment, coping and help-seeking skills. Umatter for Schools provides school teams with the knowledge and skills to develop a comprehensive, asset-based approach to suicide prevention at their school including Gatekeeper training, staff and parent awareness training, prevention and postvention protocol development and Lifelines curriculum training for implementation in grades 7-12.

The newly designed Umatter for Schools online training consists of 3-4 Zoom meetings and coursework over 6 weeks.  Schools are encouraged to send teams with a minimum of two people consisting of a guidance counselor, nurse, health educator, mental health provider, and/or administrator as well as at least one decision maker. Schools who have sent teams in the past are encouraged to send newly hired or assigned staff to support mental health and suicide prevention strategies in the school.

Here's what one former trainee has said about Umatter for Schools:

My initial connection with CHL was as a participant in the Umatter for Schools. [Our school] sent a team of participants including administrators, security personnel, a school counselor, student assistance program coordinator and social worker to learn about early warning signs, risk factors, best practice. The two-day workshop also had school teams begin to design suicide protocols to clearly delineate each school’s response to a student experiencing suicidality. [Our school] had never considered developing a protocol for suicide prior to this workshop and the Chair of the Counseling Department, Student Assistance Program Coordinator, and I were tasked to complete one during a school in-service day. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of this document. It is referred to and followed every time a … student exhibits suicidal thinking, which happens on a regular basis. I have personally trained our staff … on how to use the protocol, including educating staff on warning signs and risk factors. 

Umatter for Schools online will offer sessions in fall 2020 and spring 2021.  It's challenging for everyone to offer supportive services for students, but we are happy to rise to the challenge and are honored to work with educational communities that are doing so as well.  

Please donate to help us continue this important work!

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In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “This is no ordinary time.”

The Center for Health and Learning believes it is time to make a clear statement about equitable respect and caring for all people in this American society, of which we are a part. All people should know they belong and are valued, and as the Umatter® message says, “You have a place in the big picture.” 

“We” - white, black and brown people on the Board of Directors and employed by CHL - stand together as allies. When one of us suffers, we all suffer, and we lose a part of our collective humanity that makes us whole people and a whole community.

All forms of systemic racism must stop, including the systems that perpetuate police violence and brutality. We watched the painful, visual and auditory rendering of the death of one of our black citizens at the hands of a police force meant to serve and protect us all. Violence in all forms in our society does not fit into the big picture of a society that functions under democratic principles and values of care and concern.

The economic ravages of COVID-19 and violence in society have come together to expose just how much needs to change about social attitudes in America. CHL denounces the culture of white supremacy and systemic racism that leads to school to prison pipelines, mass incarceration, police violence, and poverty, and inequitable access to resources. We express our support to those who are protesting peacefully across the United States, demanding an end to police violence and justice.

We know that entire communities of color have historically been harmed by systemic racism and oppression, and underserved by discriminatory policies and budgets. While we have all experienced a lot this spring, the coronavirus pandemic has underscored the impact that the disparities in health outcomes that COVID-19 has had in communities of color. Recently, the Vermont Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued the Disparities in School Discipline in Vermont highlighting disparities in disciplinary policies toward black and brown children in Vermont, which runs in parallel process to research across the country. The relentless, centuries-old, racism and oppression that fueled the coopting of Black lives in America must end. We all deserve the opportunity to succeed and thrive

The current situation requires each of us to place attention on what needs to change. CHL works across sectors to impact the individual level of health among students in the educational system, patients in the health care system and those who are part of our social services systems. Today, we commit to ensuring that CHL’s programs, grants, systems and practices align with these commitments:

*Proactively address our own unconscious biases as a team through the ongoing commitment to planned trainings, dialogue, and consistent communication about assessing how we are becoming anti-racist as an organization and individuals;

*Deeply listen to and learn from Black, Indigenous, and other people of color through our projects with educational, health care and community partners;

*Ensure that the sentiments expressed herein are reflected in our work, staffing, recruitment policies, and operational decisions;

*Hold ourselves and our grantees, partners, and stakeholders accountable for making progress toward equity and justice for all. 


1.  Don't forget to register for this year's 2020 VT Suicide Prevention Symposium!

2.  Please check out our upcoming Suicide Prevention Webinar Series!



Join us for this year's Symposium!
Join us for this year's Symposium!

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We at the Center for Health and Learning and the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center are aware that a number of donations have come to our organization due to the tragic loss of your friend, family member, or colleague to suicide.  We are so sorry for your loss.  

The Vermont Suicide Prevention Center, American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, Vermont Department of Health, and Vermont Department of Mental Health collaborated and created a Survivors of Suicide Vermont Resource Packet which includes local and national resources, including local support groups. Links to the documents included in the resources packet can be found below: 

*Resources for Survivors

*Mental Health Agency Crisis Line Numbers by Region (PDF)

*Mental Health Agency Crisis Line Numbers by Region (Website)

*Vermont Mental Health and Grief Support Resources by Region 2017

*Survivors of Suicide (SOS) Support Groups in Vermont 2020

*Survivors of Suicide Vermont Resource Packet

*Self Care Tips after a Suicide Loss

*Vermont HELP Postcard

We sincerely hope that the information here is helpful to you and your family and friends during this period of shock and grief. Please know that you are not alone. There are many people here for you. Please feel free to contact the VTSuicide Prevention Center for more information or resources.

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Thanks to regional media partners, platforms and agencies across Vermont, the word about suicide prevention awareness and support is getting out.

As part of September’s Suicide Prevention Month, Brattleboro’s Center For Health And Learning (C|H|L) played an active part of the national movement to bolster public education around ongoing suicide prevention strategies, training, and funding needs. Suicide remains a growing public health concern across Vermont and the region, and C|H|L works with an array of regional media to promote better understanding, best practices, programs and resources.

Thanks to media groups including PBS, VT Digger, the New York Times, VPR, Catamount Access Television, The Bennington Banner, and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, a significant awareness campaign improved reach, frequency and impression rates across the state.

Quarterly reporting to Vermont’s Department Of Mental Health revealed increased efforts statewide, applying integrated media for improving public awareness around the issues and resources for mental health support. C|H|L provided press releases to 53 regional newspapers, PSA’s were sent to 62 radio stations, and VPR interviewed C|H|L’s Executive Director JoEllen Tarrallo for a live radio talk on Zero Suicide on September 19th, which was then linked on multiple websites and distributed via e-mail as a podcast.

In addition to earned media were disseminated information kits, webpages, articles, PSA’s and Youtube videos, all integral parts of awareness campaigns CHL deployed across Vermont. Key partners like Vermont’s Agency Of Human Services, The University Of Vermont, The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention, Vermont Care Partners, and The Suicide Prevention Resource Center all participated to ensure that a high quality of approved messaging reached the public.

C|H|L’s ongoing efforts in suicide prevention awareness and comprehensive health education strives to address major issues facing organizations, schools and communities. 

Next week, CHL will be conducting an end of year Crowdfunding campaign.  Please look out for it and consider supporting us with your end of year giving!

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Organization Information

Center for Health & Learning

Location: Brattleboro, VT - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @health_learning
Project Leader:
Sara Haimowitz
Brattleboro, VT United States
$20,812 raised of $25,000 goal
280 donations
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