Category Archives: BHAT

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.

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

Safe Disposal of Medications

St Mary’s Drug Drop Off Initiative

(Sept 18, 2015, Leonardtown, MD)  Prescription drug abuse continues to be a growing national epidemic. Addiction overdoses and deaths involving non-medical prescription drug use, especially narcotic pain relievers, have risen dramatically over the last decade. This growth is fueled by misperceptions about prescription drug safety and increasing availability. Research shows that over half the number of people who obtained prescription drugs for non-medical use received them from a friend or relative at no cost, while another 15% bought them or took them from a friend or relative.

Consumers can help reduce prescription drug abuse rates by safely disposing of prescriptions through participation in the St. Mary’s County Drug Drop-Off Program. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office has a prescription drug drop-off available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It’s located in the front lobby of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office in Leonardtownand is completely anonymous. Simply remove all identifying information on labels and place in one of the two drop boxes.

Since the Drug Drop-Off Program began in 2011, 601,015 pills, 525 controlled pain patches and 58 bottles of controlled liquids have been diverted and properly disposed. St. Mary’s County is the only community in Maryland that counts individual pills/units to provide a means of tracking over prescribed medications.

“We have the blueprint, and we know the drug take-back program works,” states Captain Daniel D. Alioto, Commander St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Vice/Narcotics.  “Although there is a national drug take back day on September 26 every year,  here in St. Mary’s County we take back every day.It comes down to a commitment from the Sheriff’s Office and the community.  This program has made an impact.”

Opportunities for safe disposal include:

  • Two drop boxes located in the front office at the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office in Leonardtown. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • The St. Mary’s County Department of Aging & Human Services Health Fair, Friday, October 30th, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center in California.
  • For St. Mary’s County residents facing mobility challenges, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office will offer a pick-up service to retrieve unwanted prescription medications. Contact the St. Mary’s County Department of Aging & Human Services at 301-475-4200, ext. 1050 to register. Uniformed deputies will pick-up your unwanted medications and safely transport them to the Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, September 26th. Last day to register for pick-up is Thursday, September 24th.

In addition to proper disposal, proper management of medications can also help prevent drug misuse and abuse.   Keeping medications out of sight and out of reach from others in the household; never share prescriptions or take someone else’s medication, and only take medication as directed.  A survey released by the National Community Pharmacists Association found that 75% of adults do not always take their prescription medication as directed.  Many forget to take their medication, take less than the prescribed dosage, or stop taking it before the supply runs out. In more than half the cases, the patients made these decisions without talking to a healthcare professional.

Working in support of the prescription drug drop-off program and other overdose response initiatives are the St. Mary’s County Department of Aging & Human Services, St. Mary’s County Health Department, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, and Walden Sierra Behavioral Health. With additional input from local pharmacies and medical practitioners, the Behavioral Health Action Team was formed. The team is a subcommittee of the Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership. Its goal is to identify specific issues related to substance abuse and mental health, formulate solutions, and seek funding to assist with services.

For more information: http://healthystmarys.com/behavioral-health/smartrx/

SmartMedBillbrd(8-15)-websize

Overdose Response Program

What is the ORP?

The Overdose Response Program (ORP) is a program designed by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) to train community members to do the following:
  • Recognize an opioid overdose
  • Respond to an opioid overdose (e.g., call 9-1-1, use the recovery position, perform rescue breathing)
  • Know how to use naloxone in the event of an overdose

Who should participate in the ORP?

  • Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible beahero
  • Anyone with close contacts (e.g., family members, friends, housemates, neighbors) who are using opiates
  • Anyone who may be in a situation (e.g., work, volunteer, social) where an overdose may occur
  • Anyone currently receiving methadone
  • Anyone with an opiate prescription
  • Anyone with a history of opiate abuse
  • Anyone suspected of using opiates for non-medical reasons

Where can I get trained?

The St. Mary’s County Health Department will be offering the Overdose Response Program for free to community members who may be able to save the life of someone experiencing breathing problems from opioid overdose.

Visit http://www.smchd.org/overdose/ to register.

Successfully trained individuals will receive a certificate allowing them to obtain a prescription for naloxone (Narcan®), a life-saving medication that can quickly restore the breathing of a person who has overdosed on heroin or prescription opioid pain medication like oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, fentanyl or methadone.

Who Should Receive a Naloxone Prescription?

  • Anyone who has completed the Overdose Response Program
  • Anyone with a known history of IV drug use or misuse of prescription opiates
  • Anyone who receives high-dose opiates or receives opiates chronically
  • Anyone who has been hospitalized for opiate overdose
  • Anyone who uses opiates with antidepressants, benzodiazepines, alcohol, or other drugs
  • Anyone who uses opiates with a history of major organ dysfunction (renal, hepatic, cardiac, pulmonary)
  • Anyone using opiates with a history of mental illness
  • Anyone receiving treatment for substance use disorder

Naloxone


Learn more about Overdose Prevention in Maryland

Don’t Be a Friend, Be a Parent Workshops

Workshop Flyer

 


(Maryland) Don’t Be a Friend. Be a Parent. (PSA)

This video is intended to educate parents and other adults about the harm and risks associated with allowing alcohol to be served to minor in their homes (social hosting) and to depict the unexpected problems that can occur in that situation. It is designed to be introduced by local community prevention leaders to stimulate discussion about the dangers of social hosting, and intended to be shown at venues such as Back to School Night, PTA meetings, parent workshops, and other school events. This video was produced through the SAMHSA/CSAP Underage Drinking Prevention Education Initiatives (UADPEI) in an ongoing collaboration with States and Territories to produce videos that support local underage drinking prevention communications efforts. Across the Nation, every State and Territory is unique and so are their approaches to preventing and reducing underage drinking. The video project supports the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Strategic Initiative #1: Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness, which states, “… prevention of underage drinking [is] a priority for States, Territories, Tribal entities, universities and communities.”

 

HSMP Seeks Public Comments on Healthy St. Mary’s 2020 Draft

Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership Seeks Public Comments on Draft Plan for Local Health Improvement

LEONARDTOWN, MD (April 21, 2015) – The Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership (HSMP) is seeking comments on its DRAFT 2015 – 2020 Local Health Improvement Plan for St. Mary’s County, Maryland “Healthy St Mary’s 2020”.

HSMP members and community partners have engaged in a strategic planning process to draft Healthy St. Mary’s 2020. This process was informed by local and state data, both quantitative and qualitative. Healthy St. Mary’s 2020 will provide a framework and consensus-based recommendations for improving the health of St. Mary’s County residents. It will provide insight into long-term health solutions and present a road map for achieving optimal health for all community members.

Public participation will help shape Healthy St. Mary’s 2020, its framework, objectives, and targets. HSMP will provide opportunities for public input periodically to ensure that Healthy St. Mary’s 2020 reflects current public health priorities and public input. The updated set of Healthy St. Mary’s 2020 objectives will be published on www.healthystmarys.com and will reflect further review and deliberation by the HSMP Steering Committee.

Written comments will be accepted until 6:00 PM ET on Tuesday May 5, 2015.

Comments may be submitted via the Online Public Comment Form or:

Mail:      Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership
                 c/o St. Mary’s County Health Department
                 Attn: Jenna Mulliken
                 P.O. Box 316
                 Leonardtown, MD 20650
Fax:        (301) 475-4350
Email:    stmaryspartnership@gmail.com

HSMPThe Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership was established in 2013 to serve as the local health improvement coalition for St. Mary’s County. HSMP is a community-driven coalition of partners working together to improve health in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. The coalition mobilizes members through four action teams to address the priority health issues in St. Mary’s: Access to Care, Behavioral Health, Healthy Eating & Active Living and Tobacco Free Living. For more information on the Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership or to become a member, visit http://healthystmarys.com/

County Health Rankings

County Rankings St. Mary's

Positive Report for St. Mary’s

LEONARDTOWN, MD (March 26, 2015) – St. Mary’s County ranks as the fifth healthiest county in Maryland, according to the sixth annual County Health Rankings, released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. This ranking reflects an improvement from eighth in 2014.

The County Health Rankings are an annual report that grade the overall health of nearly every county in the United States. The Rankings provide a snapshot of a community’s health, and helps to identify issues and implement solutions to create healthier places to live, learn, work and play. The St. Mary’s County ranking was positively impacted by local improvements in social and economic factors, quality of life, and premature death.  Since the 2011 Rankings, premature death in the county has decreased by 13 percent.

“Community partners, county leadership, health care providers, and our residents should take pride in knowing that work done to improve their own health, as well as the health of our community, has yielded such positive results,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “The rankings also reaffirms priority areas that our local health improvement coalition, the Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership, has identified and continues to address—access to care, healthy eating and active living, behavioral health, and tobacco-free living.”

The Rankings allow for relative comparisons between counties within a state on overall health and well-being. These comparisons are based on an assessment of four areas that influence health: health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment. These factors are rated using local-level data from 30 measures that include smoking, education, physical inactivity, preventable hospitalizations, and the availability of primary care physicians.

Rates of adult smoking and obesity, preventable hospitalizations, and the ratios of residents to health professionals, including primary care physicians, dentists and mental health providers were areas where St. Mary’s County ranked low when compared to the other 23 Maryland counties.

“While the trend of an improving county health ranking for St. Mary’s is very encouraging,” said Dr. Brewster, “I am concerned about the challenges we face with access to care and risk factors leading to chronic illness. With the help of community stakeholders and the Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership, we continue to seek solutions for these issues.”

The Rankings are available online at www.countyhealthrankings.org. For additional information visit the health department’s website at www.smchd.org or the Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership website at www.healthystmarys.com.

Fraudulent ID Training

Spread the word about this FREE training that is being offered by the Community Alcohol Coalition (CAC) in partnership with the St. Mary’s Sheriffs Department.

This training will educate servers, sellers, management, and owners on correct alcohol and tobacco sales and service practices.

If you or your staff are responsible for serving and/or selling alcohol or tobacco, then you know compliance is critical. Keeping informed and up to date on the most recent requirements can be challenging. This training program is designed to educate servers. seller, management and owners on correct alcohol and tobacco sales and service practices.

There are TWO sessions scheduled, a morning and an afternoon option to allow for flexibility. This is an opportunity for those involved in the sale of alcohol and tobacco to be informed on the most current polices and to network with peers and county officials.

Participants receive a “Certificate of Completion” and resource materials will be available.

All participants arc also eligible to receive door prizes.

Location
Bay District Volunteer Fire Department 46900 S Shangri-La Drive Lexington Park, MD
Date
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Two Time Slots Available 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Trainer
Cpl. James R. Stone
Alcohol Enforcement Coordinator Special Operations Division

Participants MUST RSVP by March 24th to:
Kendall Wood Program Coordinator
Phone: 240-434-7659
Fax: 30,475.6143
Email: Kendall.E.Wood@medstar.net

Youth Drug Prevention Summit

Prevention Summit

On March 10, 2015, over 150 St. Mary’s County students participated in and facilitated the first student run

Youth Drug Prevention Summit!

The Youth Drug Prevention Summit featured interactive learning programs, information from community organizations, and keynote speaker Frank Kros from the Upside Down Organization.

The purpose of the summit was to increase awareness and educate community students about the risk and dangers associated with substance misuse. Furthermore,  student organizers and adult mentors hoped to generate discussion about future projects and engage youth in local prevention efforts that will serve to bring further understanding to all St. Mary’s County school age students about this issue.


Drug Summit Links

Youth Prevention Drug Summit Home Page

Student Fact Sheet

Upside Down Organization

Community Vendors

Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids

Community Alcohol Coalition

MedStar Family Choice

NAMI Southern Maryland

St. Mary’s County Department of Aging &and Human Services

St. Mary’s County Health Department

St. Mary’s County Library

Walden

Drug Summit News

SMCPS Drug Summit Article

SoMdNews Drug Summit Coverage

Official Drug Summit Press Release