The Frederick County Health Department is proud to announce the creation of a new Suicide Prevention Coalition. The mission of the Frederick County Suicide Prevention Coalition is to make Frederick County free of suicide through community collaboration rooted in suicide prevention best practices for safe and responsible gun storage, eliminating stigma surrounding suicide, and support for anyone thinking of or impacted by suicide.
“The members of this coalition will work to address this serious public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities,” shared Andrea Walker, the lead for the Coalition and the director of the Behavioral Health Services Division and Chief Behavioral Health Strategist for the Frederick County Health Department. “Our goal is for Frederick County to be free from suicide, not to simply reduce the suicide rate.”
Suicide prevention has been an identified area of concern in the community for several years. In Frederick County, the number of suicides has been trending upwards over the last decade. Men are more likely to complete a suicide than women, and one in six deaths by suicide are Veterans. For the last decade, suicide has been a subcommittee topic of the Frederick County Local Health Improvement Plan (LHIP), which is facilitated by the Frederick County Health Care Coalition. The current Mental Health LHIP Workgroup, which Walker also leads, currently has one subcommittee focused on suicide prevention. The Suicide Prevention Coalition is the outgrowth of this foundation of community interest and need.
More than 20 collaborators have come together to support this Coalition, which will focus on outreach and education, responsible gun ownership, postvention and supportive services, and Veterans. Workgroups on these topics and a complete list of collaborators, is available at health.frederickcountymd.gov/SuicidePreventionCoalition. The website also contains information about warning signs of suicide; tips on how to talk to someone thinking about suicide; data and reports; and local, state, and national resources.
For family or individual crisis support, call 988. In the case of immediate danger or loss of life, call 911. For more information, visit health.frederickcountymd.gov/SuicidePreventionCoalition or contact the Frederick County Health Department at [email protected].