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Vermont Suicide Prevention Symposium

JoEllen Tarallo, Ed.D., MCHES, (she/her)

Dr. JoEllen Tarallo is Executive Director of the Center for Health and Learning, a 501c3 that develops projects and resources, and designs training and events that address priority health issues.

Through her leadership as Director of the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center, a public-private partnership, she has pioneered unique collaborations with the Agency of Human Services in Vermont, community partners, foundations, funders and donors to elevate and sustain suicide prevention in Vermont. The VT Suicide Prevention Center is committed to data-driven and research-based approaches and ensuring input from Persons With Lived Experience through the management of a statewide Coalition of more than 200 members.

Dr. Tarallo is the developer of Umatter® Suicide Prevention, designated as a national Best Practice program, and Umatter YYA -Youth and Young Adults Mental Health Wellness Promotion and Community Action. She is a nationally credentialed health educator, trainer, author, has managed more than 100 projects, pioneered numerous policy and program initiatives, and has written and overseen grants totaling more than 25 million dollars. She holds a Doctorate of Educational Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University.

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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