UMatter TrainingsSeptember was Suicide Prevention Month, which brought awareness to the fact that suicide is a preventable public health issue. Two events in fall 2016 brought this awareness one step further, helping Vermonters take those preventative steps.

Umatter, the statewide suicide prevention campaign, emphasizes that “you matter because you may be able to help someone,” and tells people in need of help “you matter to others.”

Recently, Umatter for Schools Youth Suicide Prevention brought together teams from middle and high schools to learn the skills to prepare you school communities to respond to the mental health needs of students. A School Liaison, Health Educator, Community Liaison, and Administrative Sponsor came together for a two-day event that took place at the Rutland Country Club.

A total of 123 schools have received training in the Umatter model, and evaluations of the program indicate a significant increase in participants’ confidence in being able to respond effectively to a suicide threat or attempt — 74% pre-training, 98% post-training — and their knowledge of how to help a young person at risk — 55% pre-training and 98% post-training.