Annalisa MacDonald, LCMHC (she/her)

Annalisa MacDonald, LCMHC is the Assistant Director of the School Services Program for Howard Center. Her direct experiences prior to School Services include serving as a clinician and supervisor for a mobile crisis team (First Call), followed by four years as the Clinical Manager for the Jarrett House, an emergency bed program for children and adolescents ages 5-13.

She has worked for 10 plus years in the mental health field, with specialty in trauma informed care, crisis prevention/intervention and suicide pre/postvention. Her work with children, adolescents and families includes supporting and addressing a wide spectrum of mental health and clinical needs.

She has worked extensively within the mental health system of care, partnering with internal and external stakeholders to streamline best practices for individuals, families and schools.

2021 Presentation

Suicide Prevention Pathways: Schools, Mental Health and Social Supports

Discover the elements of a prevention prepared school community, and the steps taken at elementary and secondary schools in VT to promote mental health and respond to suicidality.

Presentation Summary:

As part of a comprehensive community approach to suicide prevention, every school is encouraged to become “prevention prepared”. This requires attention to multiple dimensions of the school program: the climate around mental health, preparedness of adults in the school community to respond to mental health concerns, engagement of students in prevention through curriculum and social supports, development and adoption of prevention and postvention protocols that establish roles and responses, and definition of a unique pathway for identification, referral and treatment, using resources within schools and between schools and mental health agencies, primary care, hospitals, and other providers. This workshop will present research based practices and practical examples of each of these components. The facilitator is the developer of a national best practice program for schools and the panelists will each present examples from their own experiences of steps they are taking within their schools and with community partners to effectively address suicide in K-12 settings. The panel consists of Elementary and High School Counselors, and a Director of School Services in the largest mental health agency in Vermont.

Presentation Objectives:

  1. Describe key components of a school’s program and activities to become suicide prevention-prepared 
  2. Learn from School Counselors about examples of steps taken, and resources developed within elementary and high school settings to become suicide prevention-prepared school communities 
  3. Understand the role of a mental health agency and other health care and social supports in building a suicide safer pathway for children and youth, within a comprehensive community approach to suicide prevention
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