Suicide Prevention Grant to Fund Tri-County Programs via Worcester Health

December 28, 2016

Worcester County Health Department
December 28, 2016
(Snow Hill, MD)

The Worcester County Health Department, on behalf of the Lower Eastern Shore Suicide Prevention Coalition (LESSPC), received a grant this fall from the Rural Maryland Council. The grant project will focus on reducing the Lower Eastern Shore’s rising suicide rates and target behavioral health risks in youth by increasing prevention measures in Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties.

The LESSPC is a newly formed partnership with a mission to “reduce suicide rates by enhancing access to behavioral health care” and a vision that “strives to create a community without suicide.” The group is comprised of individuals from a variety of local government agencies, non-profit organizations, and community members.

Rates of suicide have been trending upward nationally during the last decade. Between 2004 and 2014, there was a 20.5% increase in suicides across the nation. The 2014 Youth Risk Behavior Survey reported that 16.7% of Somerset County’s middle school youth, 14.3% of Wicomico County’s middle school youth, and 17.4% of Worcester County’s middle school youth had seriously considered suicide at least once during the year prior to the survey.

The approximately $28,000 grant will provide funding for provide six different behavioral health trainings in the region including safeTALK, Mental Health First Aid, Youth Mental Health First Aid, and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills. In addition to trainings, LESSPC hopes to pilot the Signs of Suicide (SOS) Prevention Program in Worcester County Middle Schools. The SOS program is a depression awareness and suicide prevention project that strives to decrease suicide and attempts, encourage to seek help, reduce the stigma placed on mental illness, engage family and school staff, and encourage partnerships.

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