The Center for Health and Learning manages the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center (VT SPC), a public-private partnership that serves as a state-wide resource fostering a sustainable approach to suicide prevention in Vermont. The VT-SPC has been working on the following suicide prevention goals:
1) Building sustainable infrastructure in Vermont for suicide prevention, intervention and postvention and substance abuse prevention through collaboration across a broad spectrum of individuals, agencies, institutions, and groups that have not previously been involved, to ensure that suicide prevention efforts in Vermont are comprehensive and sustainable.
2) Increasing public awareness of youth suicide as a public health problem. Messages to be disseminated include that suicide is preventable; that suicide can be linked to issues of mental health and substance abuse that are preventable; and that there are effective evidence-based interventions and effective treatment strategies.
3) Promoting and supporting the implementation of effective evidence-based suicide prevention and early intervention programs and strategies in schools, communities and Vermont institutions of higher education in order to prevent suicide among Vermont youth and adults.
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 is composed of the following components:
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.
Umatter for Communities: Educates professionals that work within communities to be effective in suicide prevention efforts through Gatekeeper training and prevention and postvention protocols.
Umatter for Youth and Young Adults (Umatter YYA): A youth leadership and engagement initiative that promotes mental health wellness, healthy coping mechanisms among youth and young adults, and the ability to recognize when a peer needs help and how to provide it. Umatter works with adults and teens from schools and youth serving organizations to foster healthy community cultures promoting mental health and resiliency, and addresses issues such as bullying and substance abuse prevention.
Umatter Public Information: Umatter’s public information campaign promotes the message “you matter because you may need help and “you matter because you may be in a position to help.”
Your support of this project, and this work, has been invaluable. In honor of CHL's 20th Anniversary, and to support CHL's Annual Campaign, we have created a new project: CHL: Partnering With You to Prevent Suicide. We look forwrd to giving you reports on that project!