Goal Statement: Collaborate with Vermont SPC and NAMI chapter of Vermont as well as school behavior team and school-based clinicians to implement a mental health /suicide prevention program for the local middle school and high school to be implemented during the 2022-2023 school year with a minimum of four contacts/events.
Significant Findings: This social change portfolio was developed to increase awareness of the mental health needs of adolescents in Orleans County, Vermont, and to investigate the next steps in building a prevention program to support this population. Adolescent depression and suicidal ideation affect the lives of over a quarter of the middle and high school students in Orleans County (Vermont Department of Health, 2022a), with detrimental effects on their engagement in school and community activities and with significant impact on accessing their education and building a sense of belonging in the community. Prevention must be a focus as our local community does not have the resources available to support our adolescents. Sources of Strength, a universal suicide prevention program “designed to build protective influences and reduce the likelihood that vulnerable youth will become suicidal” (SPRC, 2020, n.p.), uses an upstream approach to address risk factors such as substance abuse, violence, and bullying. The program is not focusing on suicide in isolation.