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Ensure the mental health of Vermonters

All Vermonters are Healthy and Safe

Reduce the prevalence of individuals with or at risk of substance abuse or mental illness

Vermonters are healthy

Promote the health, well-being and safety of individuals, families and our communities

All Vermonters are healthy

Vermonters are healthy.

Vermonters are healthy

Ensure the mental health of Vermonters

Vermonters are healthy

Vermonters are healthy


Vermonters demonstrate resiliency and mental wellness

Vermont families are safe, stable, nurturing, and supported



Vermonters are healthy

Rate of suicide deaths per 100,000 Vermonters

Current Value




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Story Behind the Curve

We want the trend of suicide deaths in Vermont to decrease.

This was a Vermont Department of Health Healthy Vermonters 2020 objective and county level data is available. Healthy Vermonters 2030 is currently being developed.

Author: Vermont Department of Mental Health

Suicide is a major public health challenge, but it is often preventable. In 2021, suicide was the 8th leading cause of death for all Vermonters with 142 suicide deaths among Vermont residents. Over the past ten years, the rate of death by suicide has fluctuated with the lowest rate in 2012 and the highest rate in 2021. Vermont's rates of suicide, calculated as the number of deaths by suicide per 100,000 people, are higher than the national average. These rates in Vermont continue to follow national trends with more men dying by suicide than women and firearms being the method most often used for a majority of these deaths. Identity groups most vulnerable to death by suicide include:   

  • Individuals who identify as male.
  • Individuals who identify or are perceived as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color.
  • Individuals who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex (LGBTQI+).
  • Adults with a disability.
  • Veterans who have served in the armed forces.
  • Adults (typically 65+ years old) who experience social isolation.

Previous research has noted that approximately two-thirds of people who died by suicide had a reported history of mental health treatment. Suicide is not only a mental health issue, it is a community issue. It touches every socioeconomic status, race, identity, and community. Everyone can help.


The Vermont Agency of Human Services, as well as the Departments of Health and Mental Health, are collaborating with community partners to reduce these rates.

Updated in September 2023


Suicide in Vermont is a public health problem. More importantly, with a comprehensive approach, it’s a preventable problem. 

The Vermont Agency of Human Services (AHS) and its Departments are working to reduce the rate of suicide in Vermont. AHS recognizes that preventing suicide is a community wide effort that involves a strong collaboration with mental health and physical health care providers. In addition there is a public-private-academic partnership focused on the surveillance of suicide prevention data and infromation led by the Vermont Department of Health with participation from the Department of Mental Health, University of Vermont, and other stakeholders.

Vermont’s suicide prevention plan aligns closely with the World Health Organization’s National Suicide Prevention Strategies, which categorizes actions into three broad interventions: Universal Prevention, Selective Prevention, and Indicated Strategies. 

Vermont Suicide Prevention Center (VtSPC) is a key community partner who leads the Vermont Suicide Prevention Coalition, which is comprised of 70 members across public, private, and non-profit sectors representing public health, health care, education, community, social services, state agencies, and people with lived experience. 


The Vermont Department of Mental Health works in partnership with other state and community stakeholders to promote effective evidence-based interventions at different levels (Universal, Selective, and Indicated).

Universal Strategies

  1. Increase access to healthcare, specifically mental health care.
  2. Promote positive mental health.
  3. UMatter campaign that works to accomplish the following:
    • Promote the message that suicide is preventable.
    • Equip gatekeepers with the knowledge and skills to respond effectively to those in distress.
    • Increase public awareness of the importance of addressing mental health issues.
    • Establish a broad-based suicide prevention and intervention strategy throughout Vermont.
    • Sponsor a media campaign to reduce the stigma associated with being a consumer of mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention services.
    • Promote positive youth development.
    • Put into place long-term, sustainable approaches to prevention and early intervention.
  4. Facing Suicide VT
    1. This statewide prevention initiative provides access to suicide prevention, education, support, and advocacy resources and is led by the Vermont Departments of Health and Mental Health through funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Comprehensive Suicide Prevention Program.

Selective Prevention

  1. Targeted services for people at higher risk.
    1. Gatekeeper training, such as UMatter, Question-Persuade-Refer (QPR), and Mental Health First Aid, for those in key positions to identify people at higher risk. These gatekeepers are trained to recognize someone who may be struggling and be able to connect with with further help.
  2. Helplines:
  3. Governor's Challenge on Veterans Suicide
    1. Federal initiative, led by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)to develop and implement statewide suicide prevention best practices for service members, veterans, and their families (SMVF) using a public health approach.

Indicated Strategies

Vermont has adopted the Nation Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention platform, Zero Suicide, that is a set of evidence-based principles and practices for preventing suicide within health and mental health care systems. The four areas of intervention under this systematic suicide care strategary are as follows:

  1. Screening and Assessment for Suicidality
  2. Developed Collaborative Safety Plan
  3. Suicide-focused Treatment
  4. Follow-up Aftercare

Why Is This Important?

Suicide prevention is part of the Vermont State Health Improvement Plan 2019-2023, which is a strategic, data-driven plan that provides population health indicators and goals. 

Act 186 was enacted by the Vermont General Assembly to demonstrate the outcomes of well-being for Vermonters. The Vermont Agency of Human Services, as well as other State of Vermont agencies and departments, report this information annually.

The Vermont Agency of Human Services operates in support of the Governor’s overall agenda for Vermont. Additionally, its mission, and the work of its six departments, is targeted to achieve results through four key practices: customer service, holistic service, strengths-based, and results-oriented. 

Notes on Methodology

Suicide is determined using the International Classification of Disease Version 10 (ICD-10) codes for underlying cause of death (Codes X60-X84, Y87.0, U03). Suicide rates are age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population. Age adjustment helps take into account the different age structures of populations that die by suicide, so Vermont’s rates can be compared to the U.S. and other jurisdictions. For more detailed information on age adjustment, please visit the National Center for Health Statistics.

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