Read the meeting notes, or view the slides or recording.
Thank you all for your continued engagement in the VT Suicide Prevention Coalition (VTSPC) 53 people attended the meeting.
Welcome, Warm-up and Recognitions:
Melissa Farr, Program Specialist, Kirk Postlewaite, Senior Program Specialist, and JoEllen Tarallo, Executive Director, Center for Health and Learning
Kirk shared the purpose of the Coalition. JoEllen recognized MaryEllen Mendl Director of Vermont 2-1-1 who is retiring after leading the organization for 16 years. Melissa led a brief warmer focused on what is on people’s minds regarding suicide prevention today and into the future.
Update on the current state of suicide prevention in Vermont, Alison Krompf, Deputy Commissioner of Department of Mental Health (DMH): Alison shared updates on the implementation and sustainability of 988 services. She also noted that the legislature will be looking at S.69 during this legislative session which contains initiatives related to suicide prevention and that DMH is focused on peer support as well as employee retention.
Update on the Suicide Prevention Grant awarded to VT from the CDC, Nick Nichols, Suicide Grant Coordinator, Vermont Department of Health (VDH): The main components of the CDC grant in the coming year are to field a revised partner survey and conduct a state-wide program inventory to get a census of suicide prevention training in VT. There is also going to be an increase in Gatekeeper training and a focus on special populations such as rural Vermonters, men, people with physical disabilities, and LGBTQ+.
Update on the monthly suicide data, Caitlin Quinn, Public Health Analyst, Suicide Prevention Epidemiology, Vermont Department of Health: There is a slight rise in suicide deaths in the last month. As of the end of August, the number of suicide deaths this year is higher compared to previous years, but the difference is not statistically significant.
Zero Suicide Training Assessment, JoEllen Tarallo, Executive Director of the Center for Health and Learning and Director of the VT Suicide Prevention Center (VT SPC): A survey was completed that gathered information from 44 individuals representing 32 unique organizations. The analysis revealed three broad recommendations:
Coordination among community partners and stakeholders. Leverage suicide prevention trainers and participants. Support community-wide efforts that include training of multiple stakeholders.
Zero Suicide Project Evaluation, Tom Delaney, Ph.D., UVM College of Medicine: There are twelve client-level measures that Zero Suicide is designed to collect. VT is working on three measures. The evaluation is also looking at process measures to understand progress on implementation. Preliminary outcome measures show that from July-September 2021 100% of charts included suicide risk and safety plan documentation. Tom garnered feedback from meeting participants regarding measures they would like to see added to the evaluation.
AFSP and other Partner Advocacy-related Work:
The final segment of the meeting gave voice to Legislative Outreach and Education planning overviews given by four organizations. Heather White, Area Director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) spoke about the organization’s legislative outreach. She was joined by Terri Lavely, Program Supervisor for Developmental Services at the Northeast Kingdom Human Services, who spoke about her personal experience speaking with legislators and engaging media. Seaton McIlroy, volunteer with the Vermont chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense outlined how volunteers support gun laws, support local partners and strategies, and increase awareness of gun deaths. Laurie Emerson, Executive Director, NAMI-VT explained the theme of Mental Health Advocacy Day is “Now is the time for hope and recovery”. Laurie indicated they are looking for cosponsors. Julie Tessler Executive Director, Vermont Council of Developmental and Mental Health Services/Vermont Care Partners provided a video that emphasized the need for education and workforce development.
Trainings and Resources: Members and attendees were reminded that there is a CSSRS Training for clinicians being offered as well as an Introduction to Zero Suicide. Members can also order our Help Resources to help promote suicide prevention across the state. Umatter® Webinars are being offered monthly in March 2022. NAMI VT is hosting a virtual Mental Health Advocacy Day on January 31, 2022 – 10 am-2 pm.
The following organizations and groups were represented at the coalition meeting:
- UVM College of Medicine
- Department of Mental Health
- National Alliance on Mental Health VT
- Vermont Department of Health
- People with Lived Experience
- United Ways of Vermont/Vermont 211
- NFI Vermont, Inc.
- Sunshine Silver Lining
- University of Vermont
- MSK Attorneys
- AFSP Vermont
- Lamoille County Mental Health Services
- Northeast Kingdom Youth Services
- NH Department of Health and Human Services
- Clara Martin Center
- Pathways Vermont
- Greater Rutland County Supervisory Union
- Cold Hollow Family Practice
- Vermont Cooperative for Practice Improvement & Innovation
- Brattleboro Retreat
- Howard Center
- Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
- Youth in Transition
- Northeastern Family Institute
- Cathedral Square