Governor Larry Hogan issued a proclamation recognizing September as National Suicide Prevention Month, a month dedicated to highlighting all the services available to use for anyone experiencing any kind of mental health issues.

Hogan announced that Maryland has joined the nationwide Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families. 

“Each and every life taken by suicide is a devastating loss for our state, and this tragedy strikes far too often among Maryland’s community of military service members, veterans, and their family members,” said Governor Hogan.

“If you or someone you know may be at risk, I urge you to speak up, reach out, and know that you are not alone.”

The State of Maryland is supporting the implementation of the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS), which aims to prevent suicide — among not just Veterans but all Americans. By adopting a holistic public health approach, PREVENTS is acting on the knowledge that suicide prevention is everyone’s business, and that by working together, locally and nationally, we can prevent suicide.

PREVENTS is building on the critical successes of suicide prevention pioneers and agencies working with service members and Veterans. The PREVENTS task force is partnering with stakeholders from multiple sectors, including nonprofits, state and local organizations, Fortune 500 companies, and government leaders, to implement best practices to improve health and prevent suicide.

Earlier this year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs invited Maryland to participate in the Governor’s and Mayor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families. These federal initiatives complement the objectives of Senate Bill 521, signed into law by Governor Hogan last year to create a comprehensive state action plan to prevent veteran suicide.

Over the past year, the Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs have convened an interagency team comprised of more than 30 public, private, non-profit, and military leaders to develop an evidence-based plan to prevent suicide among members of the military community.

The plan, which emphasizes screening, connectedness, lethal means safety, and peer-to-peer services, will be submitted to SAMHSA in the coming weeks. Partners include the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the American Legion, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the University of Maryland, the Maryland National Guard, Holy Cross Hospital, and five state agencies.

To view all of the state's resource guides on suicide prevention, visit www.health.maryland.gov/suicideprevention/Pages/resources.

Baltimore County also has resources available for people to use in order to seek mental health help and to prevent suicides. By calling  410-931-2214, people can be connected to the county's emergency mental health hotline. A county health representative can then connect people to a 24-hour operations center, mobile crisis teams, an in-home intervention team, an urgent care clinic, non-mental health emergency housing, and a critical incident stress management team.

Baltimore County also has several services dedicated to psychiatric medication assistance. These agencies and programs that offer funding for medication on a limited and long-term basis:

Employed Individuals with Disabilities Program

Employed Individuals with Disabilities Program provides similar services as Medical Assistance to certain individuals who are working and have a disability. Coverage includes certain mental health and physical health care as well as prescription coverage.

Call 866-373-9651 to request an application.

Bureau of Behavioral Health

Bureau of Behavioral Health and Core Service Agency offers one-time assistance for persons meeting eligibility requirements who have exhausted other options to obtain funding for psychotropic medication. Persons must have a case manager, therapist or physician to apply on their behalf for assistance. The application can be found at www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/health/healthservices/mental/mhresources.

Pharmacy Access Hotline

The Maryland Medicaid Pharmacy Program offers a Pharmacy Access Hotline for recipients who are having problems obtaining needed medications or experiencing other pharmacy related issues.

Hotline hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Pharmacy Access Hotline can be reached by calling 410-767-5800 or 800-492-5231 toll free and selecting option number three.