11 September 2023- The Maryland Department of Health today announced a suicide prevention summit, new toolkit, trainings and campaigns in support of National Suicide Prevention Month.
“Suicide has a devastating impact on families and communities,” said Maryland Department of Health Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health Alyssa Lord. “Our goal with these initiatives is to begin to address the gaps and disparities in accessing essential resources and services that could help to save lives.”
Nationally, suicide is the 12th leading cause of death. Since the pandemic, many communities have seen an increase in suicide.
- Older adults (85+) have the highest rates of suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Older men (75+) have the highest rates of suicide compared to other age groups.
- Suicide was the 13th leading cause of death among veterans
- Among youth:
In support of Suicide Prevention Month, the department’s Behavioral Health Administration announced the “Together We Care” Summit, a day-long, in-person event dedicated to discussing suicide prevention, intervention and postvention strategies, as well as best practices and resources, with a focus on collaboration and partnership across the state.
This summit will bring together a group of diverse stakeholders — including survivors, family and community members, educators and mental health and healthcare providers — who are committed to elevating education on suicide risk factors and response.
Representatives from all of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions, suicide prevention coalitions, veterans affairs partners and the Maryland National Guard will be in attendance. The event will include a keynote speaker, breakout rooms and networking.
The “Together We Care” Summit — hosted in partnership with the Behavioral Health Administration’s Office of Suicide Prevention and the Central East Mental Health Technology Transfer Center — will take place Thursday, Sept. 28 at the Martin’s Crosswinds in Prince George’s County.
The Office of Suicide Prevention also announced the 2023 Suicide Prevention Month Toolkit: Connecting to Hope. This year’s toolkit includes a calendar of events, key data points, warning signs, responsible communication guidance, safety planning, lethal means and firearms safety information, and social media campaign materials. The toolkit also spotlights available training. Over the last year, the Office of Suicide Prevention offered 11 trainings to 1,231 individuals. Trainings for the general public are being expanded during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, including Mental Health First Aid and training with The Trevor Project.
The previously announced Trevor Project partnership, Caring Out Loud, is one of four data-driven campaigns that spotlight and elevate suicide prevention and mental health promotion for historically underserved and excluded groups: Black youth, LGBTQ+ youth, Native American populations and athletes. Each campaign is undertaken in partnership with grassroots organizations that serve these communities.
The office is currently developing a separate toolkit specifically for Maryland K-12 public and private schools with suicide prevention, intervention and postvention guidance for teachers, administrators, parents and students, slated for release this fall.
Next month, the Behavioral Health Administration is hosting the Annual Suicide Prevention Conference on Oct. 4. This virtual event, featuring Keynote Speaker Richard G. Tedeschi, PhD, will offer 5.75 continuing education units.
Learn more at health.maryland.gov/bha.