Vermont Zero Suicide 2020 Project

The Vermont Department of Mental Health and the VT Suicide Prevention Center are committed to the ZERO SUICIDE framework for suicide prevention statewide.  Zero Suicide* is implemented through a series of phases. This project is developed by the VT Suicide Prevention Center and funded by a grant from VT DMH.  

VT DMH seeks to engage Designated Agencies in the Zero Suicide in Vermont 2020 project. D.A.s will work concurrently with a statewide workgroup advising, integrating and implementing Zero Suicide on a larger scale. The intent is to support the integration of Zero Suicide into clinical practice and organizational policies and procedures leading to a suicide care pathway.  Your organization may already be implementing some of the tools and/or practices listed below. We expect you will conduct this work incrementally. 

What is Zero Suicide?*

Zero Suicide is a framework that focuses on the evidence-based foundation that suicide is preventable.

  • Zero Suicide promotes the goal of zero suicides among persons under care in health systems.  
  • Within the larger framework of committing to a culture of safety, staff development and support, and continuing quality improvement, Zero Suicide focuses on specific practice-based steps:  
    • Universal Screening for all patients/clients in both medical and mental health settings. 
    • Assessment & Referral of suicidal individuals through established and consistent pathways to care which can provide appropriate levels of suicide focused intervention and treatment by clinicians knowledgeable about evidence-based practices 
    • Treatment of Suicidality with evidence-based practices, regardless of accompanying diagnoses 
    • Care Coordination to ensure sharing of information among all of the participants concerned with a  patient’s safety
    • Timely Follow-up and Ongoing Caring Contact  throughout the pathway

Background

In 2015, with input from a broad coalition, the AHS and VT Suicide Prevention Center, published the Vermont Suicide Prevention Platform-Preventing Suicide Across the Lifespan. Goal #7 aims to improve the services in the health care system. Zero Suicide is a set of evidence-base principles and practices shown to be effective in reducing suicides.

Goal 7: Promote suicide prevention, screening, intervention, and treatment as core components of health care services with effective clinical and professional practices.

Vermont Suicide Prevention Platform, 2015

An allocation from the VT Department of Mental Health is enabling us to move forward with Zero Suicide in Vermont, designed using lessons learned from the Vermont Zero Suicide Pilot Project 2016-2019 .

Suicide affects everyone in our small communities: families, co-workers, healthcare providers, first responders. It sends ripple effects through every sector: workplaces, educational settings, health care and community service systems. The savings in human suffering and community services and health care costs associated with an investment in suicide prevention is substantial. We must move upstream from it.

If you have any questions, please contact us. 

JoEllen Tarallo, Director, VT Suicide Prevention Center, Center for Health and Learning – joellen@healthandlearning.org, 802-251-0488

Alison Krompf, Director of Quality Improvement, VT Department of Mental Health – Alison.krompf@vermont.gov, 802-241-0113

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