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 VeteransCrisisLine.net 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 develop an “Ask The Question” training curriculum and implementation toolkit, and produce a training video for state government personnel.
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, Outreach Program, MD Department of Veterans Affairs
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.
- 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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 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
- Maryland’s Lethal Means Safety/Safe Storage Map– Developed to help community members find local options for temporary, voluntary firearm storage. Out-of-home gun storage can be especially helpful to persons in crisis at risk for suicide. As of the spring of 2020, the businesses and law enforcement agencies listed on the map are willing to consider requests for temporary, voluntary gun storage. The link also provides a list of frequently asked questions about safe storage of firearms.
- 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.
- Maryland Chapter 35 of the Acts of 2019, Veteran Suicide Prevention- Comprehensive Action Plan (approved by Governor Hogan, April 18, 2019)
- Short Term Action Plan as submitted to the Maryland General Assembly
- The 2021 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report
- US Department of Veterans Affairs National Strategy for Prevention Veteran Suicide
- The CDC’s Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and Practices