Vermont awarded $3.8 million grant for suicide prevention

MONTPELIER, Vt. – Gov. Phil Scott announced that Vermont has received $3.8 million in federal funding for suicide prevention. The five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will support the implementation and evaluation of the state’s comprehensive public health approach to suicide prevention in Vermont. The announcement coincided with observance of World Suicide Prevention Day, Sept. 10.

“Deaths due to suicide are tragic and leave a lasting impact on families and loved ones,” said Gov. Scott. “This grant will help ensure Vermonters who are struggling have access to the resources they need to help them through their challenges, and, hopefully prevent these unfortunate events.”

“This grant is timely as these are exceedingly stressful times. To any Vermonter who is experiencing crisis or feels helpless: Please know you matter to a lot of people, and help is available,” he added.

According to the CDC, suicide is an increasing public health crisis that took more than 48,000 lives in the U.S. in 2018. As of Sept. 4, 2020, there have been 72 suicide deaths in Vermont this year. Over the last 10 years, the number of suicides in Vermont has risen, with a current rate 34% higher than that of the U.S. as a whole.

“Vermont is well poised to expand, strengthen, and bring to scale our suicide prevention efforts,” said Department of Mental Health Commissioner Sarah Squirrell. “Suicide does not only impact those experiencing mental health challenges, and we owe it to each person to have in place the systems to meet them where they are – and in a way that is appropriate to their individual needs and circumstances.”

The Vermont Addressing Suicide Together project will use the federal grant to build on existing partnerships and programs to implement and evaluate a data-driven public health approach to suicide prevention in Vermont. The project will bolster collective efforts on the integration between healthcare and mental health, and work to ensure all Vermonters have access to the supports they need.

The VAST project will develop a more coordinated statewide prevention effort with state partners and communities; utilize data analysis to identify vulnerable populations and to better characterize risk and protective factors impacting suicide; expand the delivery and provision of suicide prevention and care for at risk and underserved populations with a focus on health equity and improved access; expand Zero Suicide activities to rural Vermont counties and engage Community Health Teams in this initiative; facilitate gatekeeper trainings with sexual minority advocates and social services agencies; and expand recovery and peer support groups including groups for first responders.

For more information, resources, and data about suicide prevention in Vermont, please visit

Asking someone about suicide – or talking about it – does not increase the risk of suicide. Whatever the concern, it is important to talk with children, teens, and young adults early and offer help when someone is struggling or comes to you. This connection can give them a chance to discuss it again in the future.

  If you or someone you know is thinking about or planning to take their own life, there is help 24/7:

  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255
  • Text the Crisis Text Line: Text “VT” to 741741 anywhere in the U.S. about any type of crisis.
  • Call the Trevor Lifeline, LGBTQ Crisis Lifeline, at 1-866-488-7368
  • Call the Veteran’s Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.

Suicide is preventable. Know the Warning Signs at

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