Umatter -- Suicide Prevention in New England!

by Center for Health & Learning
Umatter -- Suicide Prevention in New England!
Umatter -- Suicide Prevention in New England!
Umatter -- Suicide Prevention in New England!
Umatter -- Suicide Prevention in New England!
Umatter -- Suicide Prevention in New England!
Umatter -- Suicide Prevention in New England!
Umatter -- Suicide Prevention in New England!
Umatter -- Suicide Prevention in New England!
Thank you, Fair Haven students!
Thank you, Fair Haven students!

CHL offers Umatter “Training of Trainers” in Grand Isle County

People are more likely to reveal their despair and intent to hurt themselves to the supportive people around them.  When prepared, youth, adults, and professionals can respond correctly when anyone needs help.  Umatter Suicide Prevention “Training of Trainers” (ToT) trains participants to identify, intervene, and get help for dealing with suicidal ideation.

The Center for Health and Learning provided a Training of Trainers to 12 community members from the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi in Grand Isle County.  This ToT was provided as part of “Connecting Rural Communities”—a grant from the University of Vermont’s Collective Impact fund.  

For Connecting Rural Communities, CHL, Northwestern Counseling and Support Services (a mental health provider in Grand Isle County) and the Parental Advisory Committee (a committee comprised of Abenaki parents, elders, students, and teachers which oversees educational and cultural supports for Abenaki children in area public schools) partnered to do an assessment of suicide safer services in Grand Isle.  CHL has applied for funding to continue the work of Connecting Rural Communities, and once funded, those who participated in the ToT will help train other professionals who come into contact with people at risk of suicide to recognize the signs and symptoms of suicidal ideation and learn when and how to help. 

Thank you Fair Haven Union High School!

All of us at the Center for Health and Learning (CHL) and the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center (VT-SPC) are grateful to the students and teachers at Fair Haven Union High School for organizing their Hoops for Hope fundraiser to support the work of the VT-SPC and programs like Umatter. 

Their hard work and dedication raised over $4,400 and helped increase important awareness about suicide prevention.

Help us continue this important work by making a recurring or one time donation so that we can reach more communities.  

Young people raising money for a good cause.
Young people raising money for a good cause.
Umatter ToT -- training for community members
Umatter ToT -- training for community members
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2018 Suicide Prevention Symposium Stowe, Vermont
2018 Suicide Prevention Symposium Stowe, Vermont

The Vermont Suicide Prevention Center (VTSPC) is a public-private partnership with the Vermont Agency of Human Services, foundations, individuals and organizations. Created by the Center for Health and Learning (CHL), the mission of the VTSPC is to create health promoting communities, in which people have the knowledge, attitudes, skills and resources to reduce the risk of suicide in Vermont.

Your support of our GlobalGiving Project, Umatter - Suicide Prevention in New England, gives us the funding we need to advance this work and we truly appreciate your support.

On Thursday, February 14, 2019 from 9am to 2pm at the State House in Montpelier, CHL staff will host Suicide Prevention Day with the VTSPC and the Vermont Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The day will focus on Suicide Safe Pathways in Health Care and attendees will have the opportunity to attend a press conference and a training on talking to legislators, to be followed by lunchtime meetings with legislators and a special remembrance of Vermonters lost to suicide.

At the event we will give out our latest VTSPC Impact Report to legislators and other attendees. You can view it here to see more details of how our training, outreach and education build awareness and knowledge to help bring an end to the devastating problem of suicide in our communities.

In 2018 VTSPC trained 1,149 people in Suicide Prevention and overall our efforts to move forward our suicide prevention work focused on:

  • Creating Prevention Prepared Schools and Communities through our national best practice program, Umatter Suicide Prevention, which trains youth, school groups and communities in suicide prevention
  • Creating Suicide Safe Pathways to Care through our Zero Suicide approach with healthcare organizations, and
  • Our work to develop Suicide Prevention Infrastructure in Vermont with information and outreach, as well as events like Legislative Day, Coalition meetings, and the Vermont Suicide Prevention Symposium

These programs are important resources within our communities and we continually hear that our work is making a difference. We could not do this without your support and we are very grateful for your donations. I hope you will take the time to look over all the information in our Impact Report and please consider continuing to help us expand the reach of our programs by clicking on the "Give Now" button below to make a recurring donation that will provide long term support for the VTSPC.

You can also learn more about all of our work by visiting and Thank you and best wishes for the new year.

CHL Director, JoEllen Tarallo, at 2018 Symposium
CHL Director, JoEllen Tarallo, at 2018 Symposium
Umatter Display
Umatter Display
Umatter YYA Training in Barre, Vermont
Umatter YYA Training in Barre, Vermont
Zero Suicide Training Welcome, Montpelier, Vermont
Zero Suicide Training Welcome, Montpelier, Vermont

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The Fall always bring opportunities for additional outreach and trainings to schools, organizations, and communities that are looking to improve the health and well-being of their students and constituents.  We are providing a number of important mental health and suicide prevention trainings to a variety of groups in the next few weeks and months and we wanted to tell you about them.  They include:

Umatter for Schools - a national best practice program for suicide prevention developed by the Center for Health & Learning.  These trainings are created for middle and high school faculty and staff.  Participants will learn how to:

  • Identify and help youth who show signs of suicide;
  • Provide parent and staff awareness sessions;
  • Develop prevention/postvention policies and protocols;
  • Implement the Lifelines evidence-based curriculum for their students.

There are currently 23 participants registered for this upcoming training representing 11 different schools throughout Vermont. 

Umatter Training of Trainers – We believe in the importance of providing skilled trainers out in the communities they serve.  Our Training of Trainers training is for community members, health care professionals, and school staff who want to raise awareness about suicide prevention in their own communities and organizations.  After taking this training, participants will be prepared to implement a 1.5 hour Umatter Suicide Prevention Workshop and will gain the skills, knowledge, confidence and materials to help others.  We currently have 22 individuals registered for this upcoming training. 

Umatter for Youth and Young Adults – Our Umatter for Youth and Young Adults (YYA) Program is a youth leadership and engagement initiative that includes interactive training with peers statewide to develop knowledge and skills for promoting their own mental health and the mental health of their peers.  During this 5-month engagement, middle and high school students will also design and implement a Mental Health Wellness Promotion Community Action Project in their school or community.  Umatter YYA 2019 will kick off in January and culminate in May.  We hope to have 10-12 school groups participating again.

As you can see, our trainings touch a wide variety of individuals, schools, and other organizations.  Your past support has allowed us to widen our reach and create health promoting communities.  Thank you!  If you would like to continue to support these efforts, we invite you to use the Donation link below – and please consider a recurring donation. 

If you know of a school or community that could benefit from our Umatter trainings, please contact us at  For more information about our Umatter programs, visit our website HERE:


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We would like to provide you with an update on activities related to our efforts to reduce suicide in New England.  Your generous donations have helped us promote mental health and emotional resilience in Vermont and throughout New England through public education, promotion of prevention policies, and training opportunities to a wide cross section of individuals, schools, and communities.  

Our objectives are to equip youth and adult gatekeepers with the knowledge and skills necessary for responding effectively to signs of distress, and to intervene early with those who are showing warning signs of mental health issues or suicide.  We encourage strategies for promoting mental health wellness which includes healthy coping mechanisms among both youth and adults.

In the past year, we have trained 760 individuals in the areas of mental health promotion and suicide awareness and prevention.  Our audiences have included:

  • Schools - Staff and Students
  • Communities - Social Service Agencies, First Responders, Business Professionals
  • Health Care - Providers, Administrators, Insurers
  • Coalitions - State Agencies, Mental Health Agencies, and other Stakeholders

Some testimonials from these trainings include:

  • There is always so much to learn from other organizations who deal with individuals suffering from suicide;
  • I brought lots of resources and ideas back to my school;
  • The informattion will inform our future health education curriculum.

We will continue to reach out to individuals and organizations throughout the region.

"No One Has To Walk Alone" Fundraiser - In our last report, we told you about Betsy LeBlanc who was about to embark on a month-long 272 mile hike of the Vermont Long Trail, one of our country's most beautiful and challenging long distance trails, in support of the Umatter - Suicide Prevention in New England project. From her own struggles with mental illness and suicide, she wanted to foster an open and inclusive conversation about suicide and depression with the hope of creating a culture where no one who struggles with these issues has to walk alone.  We are happy to report that Betsy successfully completed her hike and raised a total of $6,325!  Follow Betsy's journey at her Facebook page at the link below.

There is still an opportunity to support Betsy's efforts at the project below.  We thank Betsy for her efforts!  And thank you to all of her donors!

Your support of our work will allow us to to continue our efforts in reducing the level of suicide in our communities.  


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Betsy and her pup walk the Long Trail!
Betsy and her pup walk the Long Trail!

Thanks so much to Betsy LeBlanc for her fundraising effort for Umatter and the VT Suicide Prevention Center!

Betsy is implemeting a community awareness project called: "No One Has to Walk Alone". Her mission is to foster an open conversation about suicide and the surrounding mental health issues in an inclusive, stigma free environment so that "no one has to walk alone."

According to the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center, Vermont has the 11th highest rate of suicide in the nation, with 118 suicides in 2016, an average of two deaths per week. However, because of societal stigma, these deaths are often not reported or mentioned in obituaries, with the result that suicide is not recognized for the public health crisis that it is. 

This July, Betsy, with her dog Sam, will hike the 272 mile Long Trail, one our country's most beautiful and challenging long distance trails. She is hiking to support Umatter Suicide prevention, a national best practices program.

Betsy has created a special fundraising page here on the Global Giving site.  The public is encouraged to follow Betsy and Sam's progress by visiting the "No One Has Walk Alone" page, like her page on Facebook and share it and follow her on Instagram @elisabeth_betsy_leblanc.

By supporting "No One Has to Walk Alone' we can work together as a community to understand and prevent suicide.

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Organization Information

Center for Health & Learning

Location: Brattleboro, VT - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @health_learning
Project Leader:
Gwen Mousin
Brattleboro, VT United States

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