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Suicide Prevention/Governor’s Challenge


For immediate support, 24/7, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 988 and press 1.  Help is confidential and the line is available for veterans and their families.  Chat is also available at or text to 988.  Not sure what to expect when you call?  Find answers here: VeteransCrisisLine


In the Spring of 2020, the State of Maryland accepted an invitation from the US Department of Health and Human Services/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to participate in the national Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans and Families (SMVF).  A team of more than 30 professionals representing federal, state, and local government as well as private sector and non profit organizations has met since June of 2020 to develop an action plan designed to combat the serious issue of suicide in the military connected community.  The plan was submitted to SAMHSA in September 2020.

The team is focusing on three strategic priorities:
1. Identifying service members, veterans and their families and screening for suicide risk– The goal is to produce a training video for state government personnel.  The “Ask the Question” toolkit is now available.
2. Promoting connectedness and improving care transitions/Peer Support- The first goal is to convene local teams to identify gaps in the community’s crisis system.  The teams will discuss ways to implement best practices for closing gaps in order to reduce SMVF death by suicide.  The second goal is to develop an endorsement training for credentialed Certified Peer Recovery Specialists who work with SMVF populations.
3. Lethal means safety and safety planning/Trained Military Assistance Program (TMAP)- Launched statewide December 1, 2022, TMAP is a web-based, culturally competent, SMVF lethal means safety and planning training portal for primary care practices, as well as individual medical professionals to include doctors, nursing staff, office staff, and more. Individuals who successfully complete the training will receive a unique designation as well as virtual and physical resources to support their practice and patients.

Learn more about the Challenge here: Governor’s Challenge Information.

Governor’s Challenge Team Communications Toolkit
The Governor’s Challenge Team Communications Toolkit contains talking points, an overview of the team’s priorities, VA resources, suicide prevention publications, and team composition.

Governor’s Challenge Team Leads:
Joy Ashcraft, Lead, Director, Maryland’s Commitment to Veterans, MD Department of Health
Dana Burl, Co-lead, Director, Communications, Outreach, and Advocacy Program, MD Department of Veterans & Military Families

The Governor’s Challenge Training Portal
The Governor’s Challenge Training Portal (Portal) was developed in partnership with SAMHSA’s Service Members, Veterans and their Families (SMVF) Technical Assistance (TA) Center and the PsychArmor Institute. The Portal is a web-based, single point of entry for Governor’s Challenge state teams and their partners to PsychArmor’s learning management system.  The Portal provides access to a set menu of PsychArmor’s online trainings, as well as links to off-site trainings through VA and the Education Development Center.  With access to the Portal, team members can promote online trainings to community partners, providers, and others to support strategies related to their suicide prevention strategic action plans.

Training Menu:

  • 15 Things Veterans Want You to Know (also available specific to healthcare providers)
  • Communication Skills with Veterans
  • Connecting with the VA
  • Crisis Response Plan for Health Care Providers
  • Finding Stability After Suicide Loss
  • Inner Conflict and Survivor’s Guilt
  • Myths and Facts About Wounded Warriors
  • Postvention: Healing After Suicide
  • Substance Use Disorder in Military and Veteran Populations
  • Suicide in Military Members and Veterans
  • VA S.A.V.E.: Gatekeeper Suicide Prevention
  • VA S.A.V.E.: Preventing Caregiver Suicide
  • Women Who Serve

Accessing the Portal:

  • Visit the Portal here.
  • Complete registration
  • Once registered, access will be given to an individualized dashboard with a menu of available trainings, as well as links to off-site trainings
  • To access the dashboard, follow the link at any time and login with the email and password created at registration
  • If you are already registered, email Jenna Pryor,, to migrate your dashboard to the Portal

Maryland Governor’s Commission on Suicide Prevention

Executive Order 01.01.2018.26 (Amended Executive Order 01.01.2009.13) was signed on October 11, 2018 to modernize the Governor’s Commission on Suicide Prevention (the Commission). The Commission was created to strengthen and coordinate the state’s suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention services. The amended executive order expands the existing commission membership to be more representative in age, profession, and life experience as well as more clearly aligns the commission’s duties with changing times.​

Additional Suicide Prevention Resources

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