Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
Garrett Lee Smith State

Maryland’s Linkages to Life Youth Suicide Prevention Program proposes an array of promising awareness, intervention, and postvention services for the entire State of Maryland. Special focus is placed on enhanced efforts in rural counties where mortality rates are highest in the State. The program is founded on a partnership of State and local government agencies, Medical Schools at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, and numerous private sector partner agencies. The goals of the project are directly from the State’s Youth Suicide Prevention Plan: 1) AWARENESS-Maryland youth, their families and the professionals who work with them understand that suicide is preventable; 2) INTERVENTION-Culturally competent, effective and accessible community based intervention services and programs for youth are in place; 3) POSTVENTION-Effective, culturally competent professional services are accessible to youth who have attempted suicide and/or to other people affected by the suicide attempt or completion. The project will conduct broad State and local infrastructure development and service improvements in local schools statewide, providing enhancements related to suicide prevention within the state’s Health Curriculum for students in the 8th grade and high school. An estimated 28,000 students are expected to take these courses. The project will also provide statewide training for a wide variety of educational personnel, including teachers, administrators, and those in the pupil support and paraprofessional workforce on suicide prevention and intervention. Local partnerships of schools, behavioral health authorities, juvenile justice and child welfare officials, and a wide range of private providers and advocacy groups will be created.