Umatter -- Prevent Teen Suicide in New England!

by Center for Health & Learning
Umatter -- Prevent Teen Suicide in New England!
Umatter -- Prevent Teen Suicide in New England!
Umatter -- Prevent Teen Suicide in New England!
Umatter -- Prevent Teen Suicide in New England!
Umatter -- Prevent Teen Suicide in New England!
Umatter -- Prevent Teen Suicide in New England!
Umatter -- Prevent Teen Suicide in New England!
Umatter -- Prevent Teen Suicide in New England!
Umatter -- Prevent Teen Suicide in New England!
Umatter -- Prevent Teen Suicide in New England!
Umatter -- Prevent Teen Suicide in New England!
Umatter -- Prevent Teen Suicide in New England!

This year, perhaps as no other year, young people in New England are under a great deal of strain. The rigors of the pandemic and isolation it has brought has taken a toll.

That’s why programs like Umatter® Youth and Young Adults Mental Health Promotion (Umatter® YYA) are more important now than ever before. Umatter® YYA promotes youth mental health and leadership skills. CHL works directly with adult advisors within school systems over the course of a year to support delivery of curriculum that is focused on building resilience and promoting help-seeking behaviors. Participants are supported in the creation of a Community Action Project to impact their community.

As we all are experiencing another winter with the continued impacts of a pandemic, CHL is offering more flexibility in how schools and youth engage with the Umatter® Youth and Young Adults program. We are moving to an “a la carte” approach with the following discrete pieces:

  1. Youth Engagement (formerly “Kick off”) Event, confirmed for March 10, 2022click here to find out more!
  2. Community Action Projects (CAP) - schools and youth teams will receive a stipend for production of a CAP, supported by CHL.
  3. Curriculum - Adult Advisors lead Umatter® YYA curriculum sessions which include planning CAPs. CHL offers facilitation, support, and coaching

There are no fees to participate. School teams are enrolling in Umatter® YYA now click here to find out more!

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The Vermont Suicide Prevention Center (VTSPC) and the Vermont Department of Mental Health, along with co-sponsors will be produced the 2021 Vermont Suicide Prevention Symposium on August 4th, 2021. 

Speakers include Keynote Victor Armstrong from North Carolina’s Department of Mental Health speaking on Moving Forward Together: Connectivity is The Key. Additional workshops from Tom Delaney, UVM Suicide Prevention Evaluator,  Rachel Comeau, Pediatric Quality Control Professional, and Logan Hegg, lead psychologist for primary care mental health integration within the University of Vermont Medical Center Department of Psychiatry, speaking on Intentional Self-Poisoning in Young People. Stan Collins from Directing Change, nationally noted for his work on Messaging to Young People, will also be presenting.

Over 200 registrants from Vermont and other parts of the country attended. It was geared towards professionals working within healthcare, social services, substance misuse and mental health providers. The symposium also had useful and engaging information for representatives of community based organizations and state agencies that serve youth, families and adults across the lifespan, local and state policy makers, and people with lived experience as well as anyone interested in preventing self-harm & suicide.

The Symposium included time and space for self care throughout the day. Additionally there will be time for networking and connection as well as information on how to stay involved in these initiatives in Vermont and your communities nationwide

Additional sponsors included:

Cabot Creamery, C & S  Grocers, Moms Demand Action for Gun Violence, Northeast Telehealth Resource Center, Vermont Cooperative for Practice Improvement, Vermont PHA, Vermont Association of Hospitals, Vermont Care Partners, Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, Grace Cottage Hospital, Image Relay, Margolis Healy, North Country Hospital, OneCare Vermont, NAMI Vermont, New England Public Health Training Center, Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, Chroma Technology UVM Medical Center, Mental Health Technology Transfer Center, and Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care, Inc.

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JoEllen Tarallo, ED, accepts the award for CHL
JoEllen Tarallo, ED, accepts the award for CHL

CHL’s video “What is Umatter YYA?” won a first place award in the Community Impact category at the Alliance for Community Media’s Northeast Region 2020 "Nor'easters" Video Festival”. The award recognizes “Making a Difference” programs that generate community involvement and interest through awareness, empowerment or education.Watch the video here!

The 4-minute video, produced with the assistance of Brattleboro Community TV (BCTV), describes CHL's Umatter for Youth and Young Adults program, a youth leadership initiative which promotes mental health wellness. 

Umatter® YYA is a mental health promotion and suicide prevention youth leadership and engagement program which helps youth develop skills necessary to take a positive wellness approach to mental health, recognize risk factors, and know when and how to get help. Umatter YYA helps youth develop skills for self-care and to impact their community. CHL developed Umatter YYA as a component of Umatter Suicide Prevention, a national best practice program and has successfully implemented it in Vermont for several years. 

As always, we're grateful for your interest in and support for the Center for Health and Learning, Umatter, and Umatter YYA.  


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The Center for Health and Learning is pleased to announce that their video "What is Umatter® YYA", produced with the assistance of Brattleboro Community TV, has won the first place Community Impact award at the 2020 Nor'Easter Video Festival put on by the Alliance for Community Media - Northeast Regions (ACM-NE). Community Impact Awards recognize “Making a Difference” programs that generate community involvement and interest through awareness, empowerment or education.

This 4 minute video describes our Umatter® for Youth and Young Adults program, a youth leadership initiative which promotes mental health wellness.

Many thanks to Brattleboro Community Action Television for their outstanding work on this video. We are grateful for their partnership.

As this year comes to an end, the Center for Health and Learning would like to thank all of our colleagues, partners, sponsors, and training participants with whom we have worked. Our collaborative efforts to improve the health of our communities, despite the challenges we all faced this year, have been an inspiration to us all and motivates us to continue this important work. On behalf of the CHL Board of Directors and CHL Staff, we wish you a safe and happy new year.


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On August 18, 2020, the VT Suicide Prevention Center (VT-SPC), in collaboration with the Center for Health and Learning (CHL), presented the Vermont Suicide Prevention Symposium 2020: Bringing Resilience into Focus. The virtual Symposium was a huge success and attracted over 350 participants from healthcare, social services, mental health, community-based organizations, state agencies, policy makers and people with lived experience.

The goal of the Symposium was to empower and engage community-wide stakeholders in Zero Suicide strategies, evidence-based practices, and lessons learned in the field. By facilitating connections between misuse and suicide prevention stakeholders, it will become easier to advance effective prevention strategies. These connections can create new ways to form innovative collaborations and increase knowledge about risk and protective factors and recommend strategies for working with vulnerable populations. This is especially important in Vermont where suicide rates are higher than the national average.

The Symposium brought together national, regional, and local keynote and workshop presenters covering a wide range of topics including youth, older adults, LGBTQ+, lethal means, law enforcement, veterans, telehealth, peer support, social justice and racial equity. Each speaker shared powerful and compelling stories revolving around their own lived experiences with suicide and mental health and/or professional experience from the field.

Keynote and Workshops presentations at the symposium included:

  • Widening the Lens: Social Justice and Racial Equity in Suicide Prevention
  • Away from No way: Every Child Has a Story, Every Story Deserves Heroes
  • Community Collaboration for Zero Suicide: The Lamoille County Experience
  • Zero Suicide Pathway to Care - Addressing Challenges for Systems Engagement
  • Integrating Suicide Focused Care in Primary and Specialty Care
  • Reframing Resiliency: Doing More and Asking Less Of The LGBTQIA+ Community
  • Telehealth & Suicide Prevention: Supporting Mental Health Clients Remotely
  • Lethal Means Safety and Suicide Prevention: New Approaches for Firearm Safe Storage Counseling
  • Care Transitions:  Best Practices, Innovation, and Community-based Connections
  • Comprehensive Suicide Prevention in K-12 Schools
  • Strategies for Engaging Students in Success and Building Resilience
  • The Nature and Roles of Mental Health Peer Support
  • A Veteran’s Perspective on Suicide Survival and Prevention
  • Drowning while Flying High: When a Leader Struggles with Depression and Suicidal Thoughts

See more of what took place at the Symposium by visiting

CHL and the VT-SPC would like to thank our event sponsors, including:

The Vermont Deparment of Mental Health
C&S Grocers
Chroma Technology
The Mental Health Technology Transfer Center
UVM Medical Center
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont
North Country Hospital
New England Publlc Health Training Center 
Northeast Telehealth Resource Center (NETRC)
Vermont Care Partners
Vermont Department of Health
Invest EAP
Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center


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Center for Health & Learning

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