Firearms and Suicide Prevention

In partnership with the Vermont Department of Health (VDH), the Vermont Department of Mental Health (DMH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and SAMHSA’s Garrett Lee Smith State/Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention Grant, VCHIP plays a central role in monitoring and supporting progress towards the goal of an overall reduction in suicide deaths and firearm injury. 

To do this, VCHIP serves in an evaluation role by measuring the effectiveness of suicide prevention activities, tracking multiple streams of data from trainings and clinical assessments, informing ongoing quality improvement (QI) efforts, and supporting implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive public health approach to suicide prevention. 

A key aspect of the suicide prevention work is safe firearm storage which reduces the risk of firearm injuries and protects against unauthorized access and unintended harm, including death.  A VCHIP project team has worked to develop resources for physicians with information about safe firearm storage and ways to have safe firearm storage conversations with patients and families in a non-judgmental way.  
Green Divider Line

bullseye with arrow icon

Goals &
Suicide Prevention
  1. Development of a comprehensive suicide prevention plan that includes short-term outcomes (expected 1 year change) and intermediate outcomes aligned with strategies and activities.
  2. Develop, implement, and regularly update an Evaluation and Performance Measurement Plan that evaluates implementation of prevention strategies.
Firearms Safety

Development of the Provider Counseling on Firearm Safe Storage learning module for health care professionals; more information is available in the resources section. 

Green Divider Line
spotlight icon

The VCHIP Comprehensive Suicide Prevention evaluation team is using data collected from suicide prevention trainings conducted statewide to understand the impacts of different training models and to document how participation in trainings impacts the trainees’ professional work and the organizations they work in. 

Green Divider Line
book with magnifying glass icon
  • GunSafe VT to access a list of places in Vermont free gun locks can be obtained and temporary firearm storage sites (for example during a time of heightened suicide risk).
  • Vermont Suicide Prevention Coalition (VT-SPC) is a statewide resource whose mission is to create health-promoting communities in which people of all ages have the knowledge, attitudes, skills and resources to reduce the risk of suicide.
  • Provider Counseling on Firearm Safe Storage is a 12-minute, self-directed learning module for health care professionals. Through a series of short videos, viewers learn about the safest way to store firearms in the home: unloaded, locked up, and with the ammunition locked and stored separately. The module includes a brief review of firearm locking and storage devices as well as examples of universal counseling on firearm safe storage with families during a clinic visit.
Green Divider Line
Project Team

Rebecca Bell, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, UVM  | Bio |

Thomas Delaney, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, UVM  | Bio |