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BLOG: Suicide Prevention is a Community Effort

How is our community reaching out to teens and how can you help?

As the proverb says, “It takes a Village to Raise a Child”.  It also takes a village to keep kids safe.  A committee of community leaders and concerned citizens has been meeting for several years to address the issue of teen suicide in our county. 

This committed group has been meeting monthly to collaborate and strategize.  Evolving into the Youth Suicide Awareness (YSA) Team and funded by a three-year Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention grant, this group has worked hard to protect our teens.  Below are some of the team’s initiatives and important ways you can help.

In our schools, the AACPS health curriculum has been updated with a suicide prevention program supported by the most recent research.  In addition, instructional staff in every school have been trained how to recognize a child in crisis – and what to do to help. School counselors, psychologists, and social workers stand ready as a first point of contact for support and resources.

What can you do? 

Immediately contact the counselor or psychologist at your child’s school if you know of a child who needs help.  In addition, you can use the hotline numbers on the back of every child’s school ID card and on the AACPS website or contact the Crisis Response Team at 410-768-5522. 

This program, also known as the "Community Warmline", is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide Anne Arundel County Residents supportive assistance and links to community resources.  In a mental health emergency, Crisis Response System Staff can provide immediate care.

In addition, you can learn how to help both youth and adults by attending a “gatekeeper” training, such as QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer).  This program, which takes about an hour, gives the layperson the skills to recognize suicide risk factors, open a dialogue with a person in crisis, and help the person get mental health services.

Balanced Life Skills in Annapolis is offering this free program on the following dates: Tuesday, May 1 at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 23 at 5:30 p.m., and Thursday, June 7 at  6 p.m. 

For more information, please call 410-263-0050. You can also bring free QPR training to your community organization by e-mailing qpr.training@gmail.com or calling the Partnership for Children, Youth and Families at 410-222-7423.

Every community member is an integral part of this effort.  Please help us keep all our kids safe.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Amy Leahy May 11, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Thanks- I actually deleted my comment because I felt it was a little too personal. But now after the recent event within the Severna Park community of another child taking her own life….maybe we should be talking about our own personal pain. We need God in our lives. If that offends all you atheists out there, so be it. The two members of my family who took their own lives needed His strength and did not seek it.
Thanks May 13, 2012 at 03:08 AM
7 am, I will close my eyes from my morning hustle and ask God keep the light on for our kids, and, because of course, he does, that our kids can feel and draw from that light. And I will pray for a suicide-free day. I hope that you too will pray-- or meditate or offer up to your cosmos or whatever-- at 7 am, or whenever you remember, for another suicide-free day.
Mom3SP May 13, 2012 at 03:18 AM
"Balanced Life Skills in Annapolis is offering this free program on the following dates: Tuesday, May 1 at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 23 at 5:30 p.m., and Thursday, June 7 at 6 p.m." --From article above. I might try that. By going, it doesn't mean that I have anyone in danger (but what percentage of people think they truly do?). It's just that "it takes a village..."
Maribel Ibrahim May 14, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Gang, I just wanted to let you know about an amazing group that has been formed on Facebook since Thursday's suicide: http://www.facebook.com/groups/304079663006758/ It's called Teens Taking Action Against Suicide. With 2700 members in just over a day, the group is growing by leaps and bounds and is being led by teens. If you want to be a part of the revolution to stop suicide, do yourself a favor, go to this Facebook page and just read all the posts. Our teens are now talking, in a language they can understand, so that they can help each other and we adults can start really listening to them.
janis davern May 16, 2012 at 08:45 PM
you go girl...i agree with you....!

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