By: David M. Higgins II

A simple conversation could save a life – that’s just one of the messages mental-health organizations are hoping to drive home during National Suicide Prevention Week, which runs through Saturday.

Maryland’s suicide rate rose from 8% in 2012 to 9.7% in 2018. In the in-between years, it has fluctuated around 10%. Based on our analysis of the 2016 National Vital Statistics System data, the suicide rate among males was 22.2 deaths per 100,000, compared with 6.2 among women. Across all age groups, white males account for seven out of 10 suicides.

According to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide continues to be the third leading cause of death for youth in the United States and in Maryland.

In 2014, Maryland lost 73 youth due to suicide. The results of the 2014 Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) indicate 12.7% of Maryland high school students reported making a plan to commit suicide in the past twelve months, and 15.9% seriously considered attempting suicide during the previous year.

The data demonstrate the importance of the statewide Youth Suicide Prevention School Program established in the Annotated Code of Maryland §7-503.

The Maryland program establishes a shared responsibility between educational programs at the State and local levels and community suicide prevention and crisis center agencies. The recommended statewide program includes:

  • Classroom instruction about warning signs of suicide and suicide prevention strategies
  • Maryland Youth Crisis Hotline at 1-800-422-0009 and local suicide and crisis hotlines
  • Suicide intervention and postvention
  • Data collection
  • Teacher training

Anyone in crisis is encouraged to text 4-HOPE to 741-741. This is the Crisis Text Line

TheMaryland Crisis Hotlineoperates 24/7 (1-800-422-0009).

In Maryland, people having suicidal thoughts can alsocall 211to talk with agents who can provide aid.

The Maryland chapter of theAmerican Foundation for Suicide Preventionoffers resources for people in need, including phone numbers for suicide prevention hotlines and links to find mental health professionals.

In Southern Maryland, you can contact the National Alliance for Mental Illness-Southern Maryland. NAMI Southern Maryland is a regional affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. As one of over 1200 NAMI affiliates nationwide, NAMI SoMD is dedicated to the support of and education for people with serious and persistent brain disorders. Their number is 301-392-7109

Assistance also is available through theNational Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The number is 1-800-723-8255.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...