From the Harford County Health Department:
Bel Air, MD– On May 14, 2015, the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health will host a workshop in partnership with the Harford County Department of Community Services and Harford County Health Department. The workshop will provide primary care, pediatric and mental health providers with the skills and resources needed to employ more effective intervention strategies in the county for purposes of moving the county’s behavioral health initiative forward and lowering suicide rates particularly in youth and young adults.
The county has the tenth highest suicide rate in Maryland. Sixteen percent of high school students and fifteen percent of middle school students reported seriously considering attempting suicide in the past twelve months.
The suicide rate in Harford County was targeted in 2011 when the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) launched an initiative to improve the health of all citizens through the State Health Improvement Process. Harford County formed a Local Health Improvement Coalition (LHIC) to identify three top health priority areas in the county including: obesity prevention/ healthy eating and active living, tobacco-free living, and behavioral health, which consists of mental health care and substance abuse prevention. Organizers formed workgroups based on these three top health priorities.
The Behavioral Health Workgroup developed an overall objective for strategies defined as “a focused approach to include prevention, intervention and recovery.” One of the primary goals of this objective is to use Primary Care/Urgent Care Physicians as a first line of intervention in dealing with cases of depression where suicide screening is indicated. The Behavioral Health Workgroup sponsored a webinar for Primary Care/Urgent Care Physicians in March 2014 and has expanded its efforts by providing this additional workshop for physicians and mental health providers working with youth and young adults.
The workgroup anticipates approaching this goal by providing this free workshop, as well as through ongoing outreach and support to the healthcare providers. Funding is provided by Maryland Community Health Resources Commission.
Resources for parents of youth with suicidal concerns include the Harford County Office on Mental Health (410-803-8726), Mobile Crisis Unit (410-638-5248), the Maryland Crisis Hotline (800-422-0009) or their family doctors. Physicians and other behavioral health professionals seeking more information about this initiative may contact Ms. Paula Nash, Health Department Director of Social Work Services at 410-273-5681.