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The Power of Connection: Building Support for Suicide Prevention

April 23 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Suicide is preventable. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the suicide rate for 2021 in the USA was 14 per 100,000 individuals. In Vermont, it is the second leading cause of death for people ages 18-35. The importance of professionals keeping up to date with research and practice cannot be overstated.

Hosted by David Prescott, LICSW, ATSA-F, join CHL’s Kathleen Kilbourne, Kirk Postlewaite, and Cristina Maddocks in this Safer Talk webinar; they outline ideas for creating a supportive environment that encourages open conversations and helps those in need find the assistance they deserve.

In this session, you’ll discover how their work with Umatter, a groundbreaking program in Vermont, empowers people with the knowledge and skills to identify and support those in the community who may be at risk for suicide. Together, we’ll identify practical strategies such as:

  • Building awareness
  • Spotting warning signs
  • Shattering the stigma around mental health

We welcome anyone interested in the prevention of suicide to join us in this safe and inclusive space, where we come together to learn, share, and empower each other in the vital mission of suicide prevention. Your participation isn’t just welcomed—it’s the heartbeat of this gathering.

Let’s spark meaningful conversations, gain valuable insights, and stand united in our commitment to create a safer society where everyone’s mental health matters.

Kathleen Kilbourne, M.Ed. (she/her)
Executive Director, Center for Health and Learning

Kathleen brings to the role of Executive Director a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration, three state license endorsements (Elem. Education, Special Education, and Administration), as well as over twenty-eight years of service in public education in VT. She has served as a classroom teacher, special educator, not-for-profit director, and most recently, as a principal over the past decade. She is a nationally certified Crisis Prevention Institute instructor and consultant who uses restorative practices to support healing and repair relationships. Kathleen also guest lectures at four institutions of higher learning in VT.

Since Kathleen is an adoptive and biological mom and has served as a foster mom in the past, she has both personal and professional experiences that drive her passion for this work. Within her cross-cultural parenting journey of the past 22 years, she shares that her experiences as ‘“a consumer of services” is as valuable to her learning and growth as her time as “a provider of services to others.” She brings a deep and relevant understanding of systems, accessibility, and equity and the continued need for improvements for ALL consumers.

She enjoys balancing her work life with personal interests that include: live music and theater, traveling, reading, puzzles, cross stitching, card making, and most of all, the gift of time with her family!

Kirk Postlewaite, MS, LCMHC (he/him)
Director & Senior Program Specialist, VT Suicide Prevention Center

Kirk is a seasoned public and community health professional with 20 years of experience in program management, clinical work, and community health initiatives. During this time, Kirk has worked with children, families, and adults in Vermont across systems of care and many settings. Most recently, he worked as the Population Health Director at Rutland Regional Medical Center and as the Communications and Development Director at Washington County Mental Health in central Vermont. Kirk’s expertise is focused on creating systems of care that are effective and efficient while remaining person-focused, and he brings a well-rounded clinical perspective to this work.

When not at work, Kirk thoroughly enjoys recreating outdoors in beautiful Vermont with his family and friends, eating good food, and seeing live music.

Cristina Maddocks, MS (she/her)
Suicide Prevention Specialist, Umatter

Cristina joined CHL in October 2023 with 20 years experience in the fields of mental health and education. Cristina’s experience includes working at two designated agencies in Vermont, an Executive Director position at an early education and childcare program, and working in mental health non-profit organizations in Massachusetts. Cristina aims to create connections and rapport to promote change, reduce stigma associated with mental health, and advocate for youth and families within their home, school, and community settings. Her experience as a clinician in various settings provides a foundation for understanding the strengths and challenges of the systems of care and how to support those navigating through it.

Cristina loves living in the Green Mountains with her husband and three children…and a hound
dog named Chewy. Reading good books, spending time at the lake with family, and weekends spent cheering on the sidelines of youth sports are a few of Cristina’s current joys.


April 23
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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Safer Society


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