Two Day Zero Suicide Practice Institute Brings Together Healthcare Teams

Zero Suicide is a commitment to suicide prevention in health and mental health care systems. It involves the implementation of a set of evidence-based tools and strategies used in a strong pathway of care for people who are suicidal. When implemented effectively, Zero Suicide reduces suicide deaths.

On May 16 and June 6, 15 teams from a variety of healthcare settings, including Mental Health Agencies in Vermont, hospitals, primary care and elder care, and representing Blue Cross Blue Shield, One Care and VT Blueprint for Health, attended the Zero Suicide Practice Institute in Montpelier.

This Institute is composed of two full days of teamwork and learning from national speakers and Vermont colleagues. The aim is to improve care and outcomes for individuals at risk of suicide in health care systems and to commit to the safety and support of clinical staff, who do the demanding work of treating and supporting suicidal patients.

The first day of the training on May 6th aimed to increase attendees’ knowledge about the problem of suicide in health systems. Guided by Dr. Michael Hogan, a national Zero Suicide Consultant, teams assessed organizational readiness to provide suicide safer care and identified next steps for their work. Dr. Steven Broer of Northwestern Counseling and Support Services, a pioneer of Zero Suicide in Vermont, and Dr. Thomas Delaney, UVM, suicide prevention evaluator and researcher, served as faculty presenting Vermont data and models.

The second day of the training focused on elements of the Zero Suicide Pathways to Care: Screening, Assessment, Safety Planning and Means Restriction, Treatment, and Follow-up. Presentations and workshops were provided by Adam Lesser, LCSW, from the Columbia Lighthouse Project, Kevin Crowley, Ph.D. from CAMS-care, Steve Broer, Psy.D. from Northwestern Counseling and Support Services, and JoEllen Tarallo, Ed.D.,CHL Executive Director and Director of the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center.

The event was coordinated and facilitated by the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center. Many thanks to all who participated and are moving forward with this important work within their own organizations. To learn more about Vermont’s Zero Suicide Initiative, visit HERE.

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