State Well being Division Releases New Useful resource To Increase Consciousness About Suicide – CBS Baltimore
BALTIMORE (WJZ) – The Maryland Department of Health released a new resource on Friday to help raise awareness about suicide, the Suicide Awareness Prevention Month 2021 Toolkit: Stories of Hope. The toolkit aims to raise awareness, reduce the stigma of suicide, instill hope, build resilience and promote well-informed action, according to a statement from the department.
The toolkit includes information and calls to action to share stories about resilience that can normalize conversations about suicide while creating safe spaces for people to ask for help, the statement said.
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Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States in 2019, claiming nearly 48,000 lives. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to preliminary national data, suicides have increased in all age groups. In May 2020, visits to emergency rooms for suspected suicide attempts began to increase among young people between the ages of 12 and 17, especially girls.
The total number of suicides rose by 18 percent from 2019 to 2020, as the state office of the senior doctor announced.
The toolkit includes examples of social media messaging, a commitment to disseminate culturally informed and evidence-based suicide prevention strategies, information on the Stories of Hope campaign by the State Behavioral Health Administration (BHA), and fact sheets on:
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- Support from people with lived experience
- Suicide warning sign
- Risk factors of suicide
- Health Risk Factors Of Suicide
- Protective factors of suicide
- Groups at increased risk of suicide
- RACE for suicide prevention
- Deadly means security
In the first two quarters of 2021, gun suicides rose from 43 percent to 51 percent over the same period in 2020, according to the coroner’s office. According to the statement, the overwhelming demand for guns in Maryland may lead to increased suicide deaths as well lead to an increase in armed violence.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, BHA has been reaching vulnerable populations through telemedicine, working with behavioral therapy providers to identify service gaps and raise awareness about suicide prevention and recovery efforts. BHA leaders developed a student and young adult guide to Coping with COVID-19 with information and resources for young Marylanders.
BHA also raises awareness of suicide prevention through:
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- Share short videos on social media about stories of hope and resilience
- Hosted the 33rd Annual Behavioral Medicine Suicide Prevention Conference on October 6th
- Providing multiple employee training courses for behavioral practitioners; Develop resources to support primary care physicians performing suicide risk screenings and train clinicians in child suicide assessment
- Leading suicide prevention efforts for service members, veterans and their families through the governor’s challenge to prevent suicide among service members, veterans and their families
- Partnered with Psych Associates of Maryland to create Operation Courage, a crisis response program for frontline workers
- Partnership with the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems to provide free psychological counseling to nursing home staff
- Partnered with the Maryland State Department of Education through the Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education (AWARE) project to help educate providers about negative childhood experiences and resilience, and provide first aid training for mental health
- Promote awareness and use of the BHA mindresilience.org website
People who have thoughts of suicide should contact the Maryland helpline by calling 211 and pressing one, texting 898-211, or visiting pressone.211md.org.