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 email@example.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.