Author Archives: Jenna Mulliken

Local Suicide Prevention: A Student’s Story

BHAT Suicide Prevention Campaign: 2017 Accomplishments

Author: Allyson Myers, Student, St. Mary’s County Public Schools

August 8, 2017

This summer the St. Mary’s County Health Department selected a group of high school interns to work on specific, present-day community issues in order to increase and promote the health and well-being of individuals living in St. Mary’s County. Since my start date of June 26, 2017, I have been working specifically on a Behavioral Health Action Team (BHAT) Suicide Prevention Campaign, and I have found that this campaign has been able to touch multiple groups of individuals in our county. I have been working closely with Greg Reuss, a member of the Maryland Board of Directors for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), and my mentor, Maryellen Kraese, who is the Prevention and Outreach Administrator at the St. Mary’s County Health Department. Together, we have worked to reach out to targeted groups of individuals who are affected by suicide, some of which you may be surprised to learn are your neighbors, friends and relatives.

Did you know that nearly 50% of all suicides in the United States are carried out by a firearm (AFSP), and 60.7% of deaths by firearm are suicides (2015 CDC data)? Keeping these staggering statistics in mind, some of the first groups we made contact with were the local gun ranges, retailers, and owners. Our main goal with the gun-owning community is to educate them on the signs of suicide and how to help a potential victim of suicide. This was done by distributing AFSP “Firearms and Suicide Prevention” pamphlets and conducting “Talk Saves Lives” presentations at local gun ranges. The pamphlets can also be passed out to customers at the gun shops after a purchase is made, or can be displayed on the counter for people to freely read. The “Talk Saves Lives” presentation is a 30 to 45-minute presentation on the statistics, research, prevention and support factors pertaining to suicide, and was actually presented on July 16th at Sanners Lake Sportsman’s Club in Great Mills. This presentation is not only available to the gun-owning community, but can also be conducted to general audiences by a trained AFSP volunteer. For example, on July 26th the “Talk Saves Lives” presentation was given at the Valley Lee Fire Department, a local Fire and EMS station in the southern part of the county, and has been offered to other EMS locations throughout St. Mary’s County.

The Fleet and Family Support Center located at Patuxent Naval Air Station has also been a huge supporter for the Campaign. On August 16, 2017 from 6-8 PM there will be a free “Talk Saves Lives” event and panel discussion for all active duty and military family members 15 years and older at the Chapel Annex (building 401). The panel discussion will have representatives from the Fleet and Family Support Center, the Base Chapel, St. Mary’s County Health Department, St. Mary’s County Public Schools, College of Southern Maryland, and St. Mary’s Hospice. This is a huge step in promoting the health of military family members, as the event is geared towards military parents, college students, and high-school juniors and seniors. Student mental health awareness, suicide warning signs, risk factors and prevention strategies are all topics that will be discussed throughout the evening, and audience participation will definitely be encouraged.

Another awesome resource that I have been researching is the national Crisis Text Line. It is a private, user friendly, accessible support system available to anyone, including the 65 million Americans currently suffering from mental illness annually (Crisis Text Line data). Greg Reuss and I were able to connect with the organization, and are excited at the prospect of forming a Keyword Partnership between the Crisis Text Line and our local campaign. With this partnership, our campaign would seek out volunteers who would be required to complete an application and formal training to become crisis counselors who would represent our county. As an established county in the network, the Crisis Text Line will then assign us a unique keyword that we could promote in our community for people in need to text to the Crisis Text Line 741741 number. In return we would have access to anonymous data from the Crisis Text Line on 1) the reasons why individuals who used our assigned keyword were texting; 2) conversations by hour of the day; 3) conversations by day of the week; and 4) the general location and number of people texting from those locations. This data is important so that we know exactly where to target our help, and the problems that we need to address in these specific locations.

Engaging the next generation has also been a huge part of this campaign. Rhonda Harris, Supervisor of School Counseling for St. Mary’s County Public Schools, is very interested in making the 2016 AFSP video “It’s Real” available for public school students. The six college students featured in the video are able to connect with their viewers by talking about how they struggled with their mental health, found treatment resources, and ultimately realized just how important their mental health and well-being really is. One student in particular, Bailynne, went through a very rough transition from high school to college, and started feeling that it would be so much easier if she just could fall asleep and not wake up. After transferring schools to be with her twin sister, she was able to get past these thoughts of suicide and put herself first.

The BHAT Suicide Prevention Campaign also involves working to help college-aged students in our county. On September 28, 2017 there will be an LGBTQ Youth Suicide Risk and Prevention Panel Discussion located at St. Mary’s College of Maryland from 6-8 PM. Key-note speakers will be present, including Amy Loudermilk, Associate Director of Government Affairs for the Trevor Project (the Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth), and Sean Lare of Sean Lare Counseling & Consulting. Additionally, AFSP has an Interactive Screening Program (ISP) that is in the process of being implemented at all three campuses of College of Southern Maryland. ISP is an online, confidential tool that will offer CSM students a confidential stress and depression questionnaire with a personalized response from a counselor, and exchange messages using the ISP website’s dialogue feature. Counselors answer questions, encourage in-person appointments, offer information about available services, and provide referrals as needed. (AFSP Program Priorities FY 2017) With very few CSM counselors available to meet with students in person, this resource will definitely allow more students to gain access to the mental health services that they may need.

AFSP has also been able to support the local Hospice of St. Mary’s, Walden Sierra, Inc. (a primary behavioral health provider in St. Mary’s County), and the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Office by providing informational brochures that can be distributed to grieving and recovering patients, and to community members at the Sheriff’s Office who return to retrieve their firearms after an incident.

There are also many upcoming opportunities in the community regarding suicide prevention awareness and education, specifically including a free AFSP-hosted safeTALK training that will be held at the St. Mary’s County Health Department on Saturday, December 2, 2017. SafeTALK is a half-day training available to anyone over 15 years of age to learn how to identify individuals who are having thoughts of suicide, and how to personally engage and connect those individuals to community resources for further help.

Even though I am serving as a student intern this summer, I am also a Girl Scout in Troop 4949, and I am very interested in working to reach out to this particular group as well. For my Girl Scout Gold Award, I would like to create a presentation based on the AFSP “It’s Real” video to be presented to local Girl Scout Troops in St. Mary’s County. I currently have to submit the proposal and get it approved by the Girl Scout Council in Washington DC, but I have great faith that the completion of this project will be approved.

It is amazing to see how so many people are being educated on how to better respond to suicide in their everyday lives, and encouraging to know that this campaign is part of an ongoing effort to both increase public awareness about suicide prevention methods, and ultimately work towards decreasing suicide rates right here in our county and the place that I call home.

CALL FOR POSTER ABSTRACTS

The Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership (HSMP) is requesting abstract submissions for the Poster Showcase at the 2017 HSMP Annual Meeting, set for September 21, 2017, in California, MD.

The HSMP Annual Meeting is an opportunity for participants to network, learn from public health experts and receive updates on coalition-wide business. The HSMP Annual Meeting features learning sessions from distinguished presenters on topics related to the four health priority issues in St. Mary’s County: Access to Care, Behavioral Health, Healthy Eating & Active Living and Tobacco Use. For more information on the HSMP Annual Meeting, please visit: http://healthystmarys.com/hsmpannual2017.

This year, we want to hear how you or your organization is working to improve local health! The Poster Showcase is an open session featuring visual presentations of recent program initiatives, research findings, and other information of interest and importance to the Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership action teams. These visual presentations allow the author(s) to meet and speak informally with interested viewers, facilitating a greater exchange of ideas and networking opportunities than with oral presentations. The Poster Showcase will be staged in the Center Hall Gallery, a very high visibility area during the event.

Please review the following information for the Poster Showcase and then submit your poster proposal by 5:00 PM EDT on Friday, July 14, 2017 for consideration. The HSMP Steering Committee will review poster proposals and make selections for presentations at the Annual Meeting. An email to confirm acceptance status will be sent by July 31, 2017.

Let 2017 be your year to share exciting information on an innovative program, effective outreach strategies, noteworthy research, or other news with your colleagues. For questions or assistance, please e-mail: stmaryspartnership@gmail.com


2017 HSMP Annual Meeting

Poster Showcase & Abstract Information


Important Dates

  • July 14, 2017– Deadline for abstract submissions
  • July 31, 2017 – Applicants notified by e-mail of presentation acceptance or rejection
  • September 15, 2017– Deadline to submit final poster copy in PDF format
  • September 21, 2017– Presentation of accepted posters

General Information for Poster Presenters

  • You must be a registered attendee of the HSMP Annual Meeting to present your poster. Register at: https://hsmpannual2017.eventbrite.com
  • You are responsible for all of your own materials, including the printing of your poster and any handouts to support your presentation
  • A PDF version of final posters must be submitted on September 15, 2017 and full poster content will be published on the HSMP website approximately one week after the event

Poster Session – September 21, 2017

  • Posters will be on display in the foyer area near program sessions.
  • Presenters will be pre-assigned a display area. Additional information on poster layout, size requirements, printing options and handout materials will be provided with confirmation of poster acceptance on July 31, 2017.
  • Presenters must set up their posters between 7:30 – 8:00 a.m. the day of the event
  • Poster presenters must be at their boards from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. for discussion and questions. It is suggested that presenters also be available to answer questions during break times scheduled throughout the event.
  • Presenters may take down their posters after 1:00 p.m. and no later than 3:00 p.m.

Criteria for Poster Abstract Submissions

  • The poster presents information on research findings, program implementation and results, or innovative solutions related to health improvement
  • Poster content is relevant to one or more of the priority health areas in St. Mary’s County: Access to Care, Behavioral Health, Healthy Eating & Active Living or Tobacco Use/Exposure to Secondhand Smoke.
  • Priority will be given to presentations that specifically address objectives or strategies in the Healthy St. Mary’s 2020 local health improvement plan.

A committee will review all submissions and evaluate them on: 

  • Relevance in terms of the priority health issues facing St. Mary’s County
  • Substance and clarity of content

How to Submit an Abstract

  • Complete the online submission form for your poster at: http://bit.ly/PosterAbstractHSMP2017 by July 14, 2017.
  • Submissions require contact information, a brief poster description and identification of which HSMP 2020 topic, objective or strategy are addressed.
  • Incomplete or late submissions will not be reviewed.

2016 Wellness at Work Award Winners

HEALTHIEST MARYLAND BUSINESSES ANNOUNCEMENT

Local Workplaces Receive 2016 Wellness at Work Awards
 
On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, presented a Silver level Wellness at Work award to Southern Maryland Electrical Cooperative and an On the Path award to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in work-site health promotion.
The Wellness at Work Awards took place as part of the 7th annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. Easton Utilities was one of 42 businesses to receive an award. “This award is a direct reflection of our collective commitment to prioritize wellness and the level of participation in our program is exceptional,” said Hugh E. Grunden, President and CEO of Easton Utilities.
The Wellness at Work Awards are sponsored by Healthiest Maryland Businesses, the state’s initiative to support healthy workplaces. Employers may earn a Gold, Silver, Bronze, or On the Path award. To be eligible for an award, businesses are required to establish leadership support for wellness, create wellness committees, survey the needs and interests of their employees, set health improvement goals, and develop monitoring tools to track their outcomes over time.
Launched in 2010 and based at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Healthiest Maryland Businesses helps businesses create customized wellness plans, set wellness goals and monitor progress. Six regional coordinators around the state provide personalized guidance to businesses of all sizes. To date, over 460 businesses have signed on to take advantage of this program.
Visit http://www.healthiestmdbusinesses.org/ for more information or to join.
Photo: MedStar St. Mary’s Hosipal Accepting their On the Path Award
Pictured are: Andrea Hamilton
Photo: SMECO accepting their Silver Award
Pictured are: Paulette Ager, Crystal Jackson, Van Mitchell, Victoria St. Arnold

Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership Calendar

In an effort to increase awareness of collaborative events between our partners, HSMP has created a live calendar for action team meetings and local health-focused events. This calendar offers the opportunity for community members to easily find meetings, activities and events related to health improvement in St. Mary’s County.

Members of the Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership are encouraged to use the calendar to promote events to a wide audience! Not a member yet? Click here for information on how to join the Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership for FREE.

How to add the HSMP Calendar to your calendar

It’s easy to add the HSMP Calendar to your personal calendar! Use the address below to access the HSMP calendar from other applications. You can copy and paste this into any calendar product that supports the iCal format (e.g., Google Calendar, Apple Calendar (formerly iCal), IBM Lotus Notes, Yahoo! Calendar, Evolution, eM Client, Lightning extension for Mozilla Thunderbird and SeaMonkey, and partially by Microsoft Outlook and Novell GroupWise)

https://calendar.google.com/calendar/ical/stmaryspartnership%40gmail.com/public/basic.ics

Using Google Calendar? Just follow these step by step instructions so that you never miss an HSMP meeting!

How to post your event to the HSMP Calendar

To post a training event to the calendar using Google Calendar:
  1. Create an event in your own Google Calendar. Tip: Make the title descriptive, such as “Free Community Health Fair in Lexington Park”
  2. Enter the time of the event
  3. Enter the event details including the street address, website or contact information and registration requirements if applicable.
  4. Add stmaryspartnership@gmail.com as a guest
  5. Allow HSMP to modify the event by selecting the option “modify event” under Guests can
  6. Save the event and send an invitation to guests (HSMP)

The event will appear on the HSMP Calendar after being reviewed by the administrator. The HSMP Calendar is operated by Google, but other email and calendar hosts should be able to post events with this or a similar process. If you are experiencing trouble creating an event, contact stmaryspartnership@gmail.com to generate one on your behalf.

Please note: All posts will be reviewed for approval by the administrator prior to posting. Collaborative and health focused events hosted by HSMP Partners will be given priority and HSMP retains the right to delete event posts that are deemed inappropriate, offensive or unrelated to its mission.
EXTERNAL LINKS DISCLAIMER: The appearance of external hyperlinks & events does not constitute endorsement by HSMP of the linked websites, or the information, products, or services contained therein. HSMP does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations.

 

Town Hall on St. Mary’s County Youth Risk Behavior Survey Results

The St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) and St. Mary’s County Public Schools (SMCPS) hosted a Town Hall Meeting to present key findings from the 2014 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) for St. Mary’s County, Maryland on June 22, 2016 at the SMCPS Central Administration Office. The meeting presentation and associated fact sheets are available below for community members that were unable to attend the Town Hall.

6-22-16 Town Hall Meeting Presentation
YRBS Fact Sheet – Tobacco Use
YRBS Fact Sheet – Mental Health
YRBS Fact Sheet – Substance Use
YRBS Fact Sheet – Healthy Eating & Active Living

The YRBS is a national school-based survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in partnership with state and local-level education, health and governmental agencies. This survey monitors health-risk behaviors of the nation’s high school students which contribute to the leading causes of death, disability, and social issues among youth and young adults. Monitored behaviors include suicide; tobacco use; alcohol and other drug use; sexual behavior; violence; and diet, nutrition, and exercise.

The 2014 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) was administered to students in the public high schools in St. Mary’s County. Participating students voluntarily completed an anonymous self-administered questionnaire about their health behaviors. Survey procedures were designed to protect the privacy of students and adhered to local parental permission procedures.

“The aggregate YRBS data will help us identify the most pressing health concerns affecting our adolescent youth,” said Dr. Meenakshi Brewster, Health Officer for St. Mary’s County. “This information then guides community-wide efforts to provide our youth and families the services they really need.”

Community members are encouraged to review the materials from the Town Hall Meeting for a review of the results from this survey as well as information on local action to address health issues. For more information on the YRBS, visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/ or the SMCHD website at http://www.smchd.org/data.

St. Mary's County Health DepartmentYRBSSt. Mary's County Public Schools

2016 Wellness At Work Awards

HEALTHIEST MARYLAND BUSINESSES LAUNCHES WELLNESS AT WORK AWARDS

White Plains, MD (March 24, 2016)—Healthiest Maryland Businesses, the state’s initiative to support healthy workplaces, is seeking applicants for the Wellness at Work Awards. The purpose of the awards is to recognize Maryland employers for their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion.  Employers may be eligible to earn a Gold, Silver, or Bronze award.

Launched in 2010 and based at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Healthiest Maryland Businesses assists businesses by creating customized wellness plans, setting wellness goals and monitoring progress. Six regional coordinators around the state provide personalized guidance to businesses of all sizes. To date, over 400 businesses have signed on to take advantage of this free program.

“Our goal is to make the healthiest choice the easiest choice,” explains Angela Deal, coordinator for the Southern Region, which includes Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties. “Workplace wellness programs can help employees eat healthier foods, get more physical activity and make other lifestyle changes that improve their health.”

To be eligible for an award, businesses must be a current member of Healthiest Maryland Businesses and must complete an online application. Deadline to apply is April 29. The application and additional details can be found at http://www.healthiestmdbusinesses.org/

The Wellness at Work awards will be given at the 7th annual Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium on June 10 at the BWI Marriott. The annual symposium, presented by Business Health Services, is the largest workplace wellness gathering in Maryland, focused on discussing timely health and wellness topics for employers. Registration information may be found at: http://marylandwellnesssymposium.com/

For more information about the Wellness at Work awards, contact Angela Deal at 301-609-6885 or angela.deal@maryland.gov

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Southern Maryland Mission of Mercy

Guest Contributor: Libby Blair, RN, MS, Director of Health Promotion and Community Services, St. Mary's County Health Department

More than 100 million people in the United States are without dental insurance. In the Southern Maryland area, there are thousands of adults that don’t receive adequate or even basic needed dental care, resulting in a silent epidemic of dental and oral disease. The Southern Maryland Mission of Mercy is focused on addressing those needs in a professional and caring manner.

The 2016 Southern Maryland Mission of Mercy will be held on July 29th and 30th from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM at North Point High School in Waldorf, Maryland.

This free adult dental clinic will provide services such as dental cleanings, fillings, restorations, and extractions. The event will be first come, first served and it is likely that the line will be cut off at 10:00 AM each day to allow the opportunity to treat all patients. As in previous years, it is anticipated that this event will provide dental services to more than 600 patients and deliver approximately 4,000 procedures.

Several partners, including the Maryland State Dental Association, local Rotary Clubs, and the Archdiocese of Washington, are helping to raise donations to cover all associated costs, but volunteers are still needed to ensure that this event is a success. Volunteer opportunities include providing medical coverage, nursing support, patient registration, screening, patient escort, hospitality, etc. Volunteers are asked to commit to a 6-hour shift. Every single person that volunteers is making an essential contribution to the health and well-being of the community.

If you are interested in participating as a volunteer or for more information on this event, please visit: http://www.southernmdmom.org/

American Heart Month Feature

ucm_465189Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Maryland, accounting for 25% of all deaths. Sadly, in St. Mary’s County our numbers are even higher than state averages.

The good news?

Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Through lifestyle changes like smoking cessation, healthy eating, exercise, and managing diabetes, blood pressure and stress, you can greatly reduce your chance of heart disease.

This year, make control your goal!

Use the resources below to help you control your diabetes, blood pressure or other habits that increase your risk.

Smoking Cessation


Healthy Eating


Physical Activity


Managing Diabetes


Controlling Blood Pressure

2016 Town Hall Meetings: Youth Use of Tobacco & E-Cigarettes

The Tobacco Free Living action team (TFL) of the Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership facilitated a 2-part Town Hall Series on underage tobacco and e-cigarette use.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Selling tobacco products to youth under the age of 18 is illegal, yet nearly 9 out of 10 smokers started smoking by the age of 18 and about 19% of St. Mary’s County high school students use tobacco; higher than state and national averages. Please join us for these open community conversation about underage tobacco and e-cigarette use in St. Mary’s County.
For more information on the TFL Action Team please visit: http://healthystmarys.com/tobacco-free-living/

The 2016 Town Hall Series on Underage Tobacco and E-Cigarette Use was a great success! Thank you to everyone who attended these community conversations. Presentations from each town hall are available below.  

Part 1: Underage Tobacco Use

Special Guest Speaker: William Tilburg, JD, Deputy Director of the Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy based at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. William has authored legal synopses on local authority to restrict the sale of tobacco products and regulating tobacco products based on pack size for the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, and filed petitions and public comments to the Food and Drug Administration requesting the agency regulate cigars and other non-cigarette tobacco products and reject tobacco manufacturer applications seeking designation as modified risk tobacco products.

Click here to view the meeting presentation.


Part 2:  E-Cigarette Use

Special Guest Speaker: Olesya K. Vernyi-Kellogg, J.D., is a staff attorney with the Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. Olesya will present on related federal, state, and local regulations, provide a general assembly legislative update, and share some of the latest scientific studies on e-cigarette health effects.

Click here to view the meeting presentation.


For more information, call 301-475-4391

The Great American Smokeout

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Get ready to lose the habit, and become victorious over tobacco.

Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society event the Great American Smokeout. The Great American Smokeout challenges people to stop using tobacco for this one day in the hope they may quit for good.

About 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. In St. Mary’s County, 25% of adults and 19% of youth are currently using tobacco products. Quitting — even for one day — has immediate and long term benefits for smokers and their loved ones.

On November 19, 2015, the Tobacco Free Living Action Team of the Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership did outreach throughout St. Mary’s to celebrate the Great American Smokeout. Community members were encouraged to sign a pledge to quit smoking and were offered a free Quit-Kit to help!

Over 200 individuals were reached with these efforts!

Thank you to the following locations for participating in the Great American Smokeout:

Thank you to the partners of the Tobacco Free Living action Team for coordinating this event locally. Special thanks to the St. Mary’s County Health Department, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, the Minority Outreach Coalition, Walden Behavioral Health,  the Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions and MedStar Family Choice. 

There are many tools that can help people quit and increase their chances of staying quit. For more information visit http://healthystmarys.com/tobacco-free-living/ or call (301) 475-4330.

Great American Smokeout Materials 

 

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