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National/State Suicide Prevention Initiatives

For immediate support, 24/7, call the Veterans Crisis Line at
1-800-273-8255 and press 1.  Help is confidential and the line is available for veterans and their families.  Chat is also available at or text to 838255.

Not sure what to expect when you call?  Find answers here:

Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide among Service Members, Veterans and Families 

In the Spring of 2020, the Hogan-Rutherford Administration accepted an invitation from the United States 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.  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 presented to the Administration in November of 2020.  In March of 2020, the Maryland team participated in the SAMHSA facilitated implementation academy.

The team is focusing on four strategic priorities:
1. Identifying service members, veterans and their families and screening for suicide risk
2. Promoting connectedness and improving care transitions
3. Lethal means safety and safety planning
4. Peer support

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

Team Leads:
Joy Ashcraft, Director, Maryland’s Commitment to Veterans, MD Department of Health
Dana Burl, Director, Outreach Program, MD Department of Veterans Affairs

PREVENTS (Presidents Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide)

The President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) will focus on a holistic public health approach to suicide prevention. PREVENTS seeks to change the culture surrounding mental health and suicide prevention through enhanced community integration, prioritized research activities, and implementation strategies that emphasize improved overall health and well-being.

The goal of PREVENTS is 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.


September 1, 2020 Governor Hogan proclaimed September as National Suicide Prevention Month in Maryland.  Maryland joins the PREVENTS nationwide campaign to increase awareness of mental health issues and suicide prevention to reduce suicide for all Americans.  The proclamation was signed September 1, 2020 by Governor Larry Hogan, Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, and Secretary of State John C. Wobensmith.

Learn more about the PREVENTS initiative here: PREVENTS.

Maryland Governor’s Commission on Suicide Prevention

Executive Order 01.01.2018.26 (Amended Executive Order 01.01.2009.13) was signed by Governor Larry Hogan 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.​

For more information on the Commission visit: Governor’s Commission on Suicide Prevention

HG § 4-219—Veteran and Armed Forces Member Suicides Annual Report 2020
Maryland Ann. Code Health-General Art., §4-219, established a requirement for the Maryland Department of Health to produce an annual report describing deaths due to suicide among Maryland residents who were veterans of the United States Armed Forces, or who were currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces at the time of their death. This statute stipulates that the report is only to include information on suicide deaths disaggregated by age, sex, race/ethnicity, and method of suicide among those who had served in the Armed Forces. This report is to be produced and submitted annually through December 2021 to the State Department of Veterans Affairs, the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the House Health and Government Operations Committee.

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