The Vermont Suicide Prevention Platform is a planning document, aligned to the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. The Platform was developed with input from the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center, Vermont Suicide Prevention Coalition, and other key stakeholders including survivors of suicide and attempts.
The Platform contains guiding principles, goals and objectives, actions and resources based on the latest research and evidence of success in suicide prevention. Each goal has suggested strategies that can help people in all sectors of society think about what changes they could influence.
These goals have a place for everyone to participate in suicide prevention, because suicide is largely preventable, and everyone has a role to play.
Underlying Principles of the Vermont Platform
The Vermont Suicide Prevention Platform is based upon a number of underlying principles derived from the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention 2012, the Vermont Suicide Prevention Platform from 2012, and the work of the Vermont Youth Suicide Prevention Coalition.
Those principles include:
- Suicide is generally preventable – suicidality is a diagnosable and treatable mental health condition.
- Suicide is a public health issue.
- Mental health and physical health are equal and inextricably linked as components of overall health.
- Suicide shares risk factors with substance abuse, bullying and harassment, traumatic events (including sexual abuse, violence, post-traumatic stress), as well as other mental health conditions.
- Consumers of mental health services, and survivors of suicide and suicide attempts, need to be actively involved in planning, implementing, and evaluating suicide prevention activities.
This Platform maintains the ongoing commitment to the fundamental principle that everyone has a role in suicide prevention. As in the past edition, each Vermont goal is structured to include strategies in which people, at all levels of society, can play a part. We invite you to read on, and find your role. JoEllen Tarallo-Falk, Ed.D., MCHES, FASHA Director, Vermont Suicide Prevention Center Executive Director, Center for Health and Learning National Strategy for Suicide Prevention The Vermont Suicide Prevention Platform is aligned with the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP) – a document issued by the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention that provides a guide for organized prevention efforts for the United States. One of the central tenets of the NSSP, that Vermont embraces, is that everyone – businesses, educators, health care institutions, government, communities, and every single American – has a role in preventing suicide and creating a healthier nation. Prevention must be woven into all areas of our lives. Due to the dramatic growth of activity in the field of suicide prevention since the first National Strategy was issued in 2001, the Surgeon General and the Action Alliance revised and updated the document in 2012. In that intervening decade, much progress was made in increased training of clinicians and community members in detection of suicide risk and appropriate response, and enhanced communication and collaboration between public and private sectors on suicide prevention. The 2012 strategy revision reflects the major developments in suicide prevention, research, and practice, including:
- An increased understanding of the link between suicide and other health issues. Ongoing research continues to confirm that health conditions such as mental illness and substance abuse, as well as traumatic or violent events, can influence a person’s risk of suicide later in life. Research suggests that connectedness can help protect individuals from a wide range of health problems, including suicide risk.
- New knowledge on groups at increased risk. Research continues to suggest important differences among various demographics in regards to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
- Evidence of the effectiveness of suicide prevention interventions. New evidence suggests that a number of interventions, such as behavior therapy, crisis lines and follow-up are particularly useful.
- Increased recognition of the value of comprehensive and coordinated services. Combining new methods of treatment for suicidal patients with prompt patient follow-up after discharge from the hospital is an effective suicide prevention method.
The 2012 NSSP outlines four strategic directions comprised of 13 goals and 60 objectives that are meant to work together:
- Create supportive environments that promote healthy and empowered individuals, families, and communities
- Enhance clinical and community preventive services
- Promote the availability of timely treatment and support services
- Improve suicide prevention surveillance collection, research, and evaluation
The eleven goals of the Vermont Platform fall within these strategic directions, as the state commits to implementing policies and programs with the strongest evidence, built on the most up-to-date knowledge base and solid, ongoing evaluation. The Vermont Platform strives to guide the state, via multiple interwoven strategies, to that most important destination: Everyone has a role in preventing suicides.