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Partnership for Suicide Prevention Committee

What We Do

To make Queen Anne's County citizens knowledgeable and help them recognize indicators of suicidal thinking and link residents in need with prevention and intervention services.

The LMB formed the Anti-Suicide Committee in the Summer of 2012. Soon after the committee was formed it became part of the Anti-Bullying committee. It was later determined that for the most part the goals were mostly different for the two committees and it might be a good idea to split the committees into individual committees again. In the summer of 2013, Holly Ireland was asked to chair the Anti-Suicide committee by the Chair of the Local Management Board. The committee was later renamed: Partnership for Suicide Prevention. The committee hopes to work closely and otherwise align with Mid-Shore Mental Health Systems, the Regional Core Service Agency and other organizations and efforts that are working toward the same goal of suicide prevention. The Local team of the State of Maryland Health Improvement Process (SHiP), an initiative encouraged by the State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) to focus on and improve health indicators in Maryland that have been determined to be especially poor, is chaired by Dr. Spenser, Health Officer for Kent and Caroline Counties. The local group recently established targets relating to suicide rates on the Mid-Shore.

The Suicide Prevention group is comprised of members of the school system, the local management board, mid-shore behavioral health, the health department, mobile crisis and parents/family members that have been affected by suicide. Pat Kotzen is a parent member but she is also our local representative with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This group strives to reduce the stigma surrounding the topic of suicide, bring education to the community regarding this issue and provide trainings on mental health related topics around the county. They are also involved in the annual walk in Kent Island to raise funds for projects such as trainings. The group has been successful in providing these trainings, getting billboards on Rt. 50 in regards to suicide prevention, and working with Mobile Crisis who provides the group with statistics relating to suicide/crisis calls in our county as well as the surrounding counties.

Story Behind the Curve

      The Mid-Shore State Health Improvement Process (SHIP) team has identified suicide attempts on the Mid-Shore as an important factor of focus. The state has targets and the SHIP team locally will set targets which this committee could help to achieve.

      • Suicide rates have increased over all age ranges except > 65.
      • “Means Matter" it is important to understand methods of suicide attempts – because some methods are more lethal than others.
      • More people are using hanging to kill themselves. This form of suicide has specifically increased among females.
      • Ethnicity – the highest rates of suicides are by whites.
      • Queen Anne's County has the lowest rate on the Shore but the committee questions that data. Additionally QAC youth suicide is higher than the average.
      • Another important indicator is the number of Emergency Room Visits by people who have attempted but not completed suicide.
      • The Sheriff's deputy reported anecdotally that during bad weeks they have to respond to 5-7 suicide attempts a day.
      • Greatest cause of emergency room visits is from categories related to stress, anxiety, or depression.

      National PerspectiveContributing Factors for Rise in Suicide Rates Among Middle Aged Adults

        • Recent economic downturn (historically, suicide rates correlate with business cycles, with higher rates observed during economic hardship)
        • Cohort effect – “baby boomer" generation had high rates of suicides during adolescence which may contribute to higher risk of suicides in middle age (culture of tolerance)
        • Increase in prescription opioid addiction contributing to increased risk for suicide
        • Lack research to explain differences across racial pop's., middle aged Whites and AI/AN are 3-4x more likely to commit suicide then Blacks, Hispanic, or Asians, even when controlling for mental illness

Committee Perspective

The Committee has identified the need for further research and education around the topic especially as it relates to the LBTBQ population in Queen Anne's County.

The committee believes completed suicides are much higher than what is gleaned from the data due to the stigma and the way the information from autopsies is reported.

The numbers from the Operations Center are only those who have called in for assistance.

More needs to be done to prevent suicides in Queen Anne's County but true solutions are difficult to obtain. We plan to continue to increase successful solutions in Queen Anne's County.


  • Board of Education
    • Student Services
    • Principals
  • Community Members
  • Business Partners
  • Mental Health Providers
  • Hospice - Need to add to Committee
  • Homeless Shelter
  • Families - as ready to participate and as they understand their role and purpose on this committee
  • Faith Based Institutions
  • Dept. of Juvenile Services
  • Health Dept.
  • Dept. of Social Services
  • LMB
  • Sheriff's Office
  • Emergency Services
  • Character Counts!
  • Anti-Bullying Committee
  • Crisis Hotlines
  • Aging Community - MD Access Point
  • Chesapeake Helps
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
  • Youth

What Works

  • Community awareness of issues and resources
  • Media exposure
  • Yellow ribbon campaign
  • Mental Health Services
  • Education – suicide signs, prevention intervention
  • Awareness about Mental health resources (walk in hours at providers offices)
  • Both professionals & community members
  • Text to Stop It (education)
  • Stigma (education)
  • Marketing the Message
  • MHFA Training
  • Bereavement Training
  • Billboards
  • Transportation Advertising
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Public Awareness Campaign through Utilizing AFSP's expertise
  • Mobile Crisis Service
  • Youth Hotline
  • Mental Health First Aid
  • Talk Saves Lives
  • Out of Darkness Walk
  • Parental Education for those parents who are hesitant to refer their children for help when identified as a risk for suicide
  • SAP Teams - with new strategy - approaching the issue with the parent more gently .

Action Plan

Public Service Announcements-MD Mental Health Channel on QACTV 

Review risk assessments quarterly

AFSP Out of the Darkness Walk Mid Shore

Increase awareness of the Text to Stop it Program

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

Train all certified QACPS staff in Kognito

Professional, student and parent trainings in Suicide Prevention

Mental Health First Aid Training

Meeting Updates, Announcements, and Decisions (Notes from Meeting)

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