Vermont Suicide Prevention Coalition

About The Coalition

Join The Coalition

Questions? Contact:

Kirk Postlewaite, MS, LICSW

Senior Program Specialist (he/him) Vermont Suicide Prevention Center

About The Coalition

The Vermont Suicide Prevention Coalition comprises over 70 active members across public, private, and non-profit sectors representing public health, health care, education, community, social services, state agencies, and people with lived experience.

The Coalition:

  • Advises projects and initiatives that are publicly and privately funded in Vermont
  • Developed the Vermont Suicide Prevention Platform based on the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention

Guiding Principles:

Suicidality is a diagnosable mental health condition that shares risk factors with substance misuse and many other co-occurring mental health conditions. Mental and physical health problems must be effectively identified, assessed, treated, and supported with effective care coordination. Individuals and organizations must collaborate to prevent suicide. Suicide prevention requires the use of a public health planning approach.

Our strategies include:

  • Promoting the message that suicide across the lifespan is preventable
  • Equipping health care and community-based providers with the knowledge and skills to respond effectively to anyone in distress
  • Increasing public awareness of the importance of addressing mental health issues and the characteristics of mental health wellness
  • Establishing broad-based suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention program throughout Vermont
  • Sponsoring a public information campaign to reduce the stigma associated with being a consumer of mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention services and to increase connectedness and the promotion of mental health wellness
  • Promoting positive youth development and life-long mental health
  • Developing a five-year strategic plan to ensure long-term and sustainable approaches to prevention and early intervention


Umatter® Public Information

The Coalition has been instrumental in designing Umatter® public information promoting the message that everyone has a role in preventing suicide. Learn more about how Umatter® promotes mental health wellness.

The work of the Vermont Suicide Prevention Coalition is based upon a number of underlying principles derived from the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and the Vermont Suicide Prevention Platform. Those principles include:

  • Suicide is generally preventable — suicidality is a diagnosable mental health condition that requires a pathway to care
  • Suicide is a public health issue
  • Mental health and physical health are important and 
inextricably linked components of overall health
  • Suicide shares risk factors with substance abuse, bullying, and harassment, traumatic events (including sexual abuse, violence, and post-traumatic stress), as well as other mental health conditions
  • Community, individuals, and organizations must collaborate to prevent suicide

Stakeholder Voices

The VT Suicide Prevention Coalition (VTSPC) and the American Foundations for Suicide Prevention – Vermont Chapter (AFSP-VT) held a session on Thursday, February 25, 2021, entitled Suicide Prevention in Vermont for State Legislators- Stakeholder Voices. The goal of the session was to increase understanding of needs and recommended strategies.

The event attracted 49 attendees including state legislators, community members, and those working in health and service organizations and state government.  Presenters spoke on issues such as COVID and Mental Health, Ensuring Social Connections, Older Adults, LGBTQ+, Disabilities, Suicide Prevention Infrastructure, Lethal Means, BIPOC, and At-Risk Populations.

VT Suicide Prevention Coalition Member Organizations

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