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Alternatives to Suicide Overview for LGBTQ Community

November 30 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm



“Alternatives to Suicide” is a harm reduction approach to suicide that was first articulated in Western Massachusetts in 2008 and has now spread throughout the globe.  This overview will provide attendees with the history and philosophy behind this trauma-informed model.  This approach has been developed by individuals with personal experience navigating thoughts of suicide and standard systems of care.  This training will place particular emphasis on the unique experiences of LGBTQ folks who are struggling with thoughts of suicide.  We explore concrete paradigm shifts that we can make in our work that can help us move from control to connection, from fear to curiosity.  We tackle common misconceptions about the best way to engage with suicidal people and common misinterpretations of legal matters as they relate to suicide.  There will be role play demonstration and conversation about the & Alternatives to Suicide; dialogue model, VCVC (Validation-Curiosity-Vulnerability-Community)


  • Training participants will be able to identify at least three key research findings that support the development of “Alternatives to Suicide” approach, particularly for members of the LGBTQ community
  • Training participants will learn how to apply the four elements of the “Alternatives to Suicide” approach of Validation-Curiosity-Vulnerability-Community (VCVC)
  • Training participants will learn at least five open-ended questions to ask someone who is having thoughts of suicide beyond “Do you have a plan?”


Natan Cohen (they/them) is a trans and autistic team member who grew up here in Western Mass. Natan is someone who has experienced bullying, addiction, emotional and spiritual abuse, homelessness, chronic illness, and many extreme and unusual states. They have sought answers everywhere from western medicine to the far reaches of alternative healing and spiritual communities, only to find well-being and belonging in peer support. Natan is a lover of compassionate truth-telling, comedy, science, and sharing the potential of peer support. As a former drug dealer, Natan’s work has included a focus on holding space for people who are currently and formerly incarcerated. Natan spends much of their time leading trainings, offering support on our Discord server, and our website. In their free time Natan is passionate about cats, roleplaying games, parenting disabled children, video games, fantasy and science-fiction, and spending time near moving water.

Micah Matthias (he/him) is a white queer and transgender trauma survivor who grew up as a fundamentalist Christian in the southeastern US. He’s had experience working in peer support, working with young people in and outside of the traditional mental health system, and doing LGBTQ+ community organizing. Micah spends most of his time trying to figure out how to be a good parent to a young child, wondering about the possibilities of true community in the context of a changing world, facilitating virtual support spaces while sitting next to his 2 cats, and appreciating the beauty and abundance of rural New England.


CEUs pending approved through the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation for:

  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
  • Allied Mental Health
  • Psychological Examiners
  • Social Workers



November 30
9:00 am - 1:00 pm
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(802) 254-6590
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