Kurt Michael, BA, MS, PhD

Vermont Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities


Dr. Kurt Michael is the Clinical Director of Jed High School, West. He recently retired as the Stanley R. Aeschleman Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Appalachian State University.

He was trained at the University of Colorado – Boulder (B.A., cum laude), Utah State University (M.S., Ph.D.), and Duke University Medical Center (Clinical Psychology Internship). His primary areas of research and clinical practice are adolescent suicidology, school mental health, and rural healthcare.

Dr. Michael currently serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Rural Mental Health and is the Editor (JP Jameson, Co-Editor) of the first edition of The Handbook of Rural School Mental Health (Springer). Dr. Michael joined the Jed Foundation in July of 2022 to help oversee the scaling up of the Jed Foundation’s Comprehensive Model in the western U.S. The primary goal of Jed High School West is to provide strategic consulting and technical assistance to school districts across the Rocky Mountain West to promote emotional health and to prevent suicide among the nation’s youth. Dr. Michael is also a national consultant for the Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) and the Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM) programs, with a special emphasis on using the evidence-based approaches in rural and remote communities and schools across several states


Suicide Prevention Programming for Children and Adolescents in K-12 Schools

Facilitator Kurt Michael, BA, MS, PhD Director Vermont Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (VT LEND) Description According to recent national data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), almost 32% of high school teens experienced “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness,” and 17% reported having “serious suicidal thoughts” during the previous 12 months.  Though only a small percentage of teens reported making a suicide attempt requiring medical intervention during the previous year (2.4%), undetected or untreated sadness, hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts can fester. Worse, when suicidal thoughts are experienced in a context where there is ready access to lethal means (e.g., dangerous medications, firearms), it can be a deadly combination. Thus, identifying and treating the more prevalent correlates of suicidality at an earlier stage is a sensible entry point for prevention efforts versus waiting until youth experience much more serious emotional and behavioral crises.  Two specific suicide prevention models relevant for youth in schools, Counseling on Access to Lethal Means

Read More »