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Gun Violence Intervention Team Releases Its Suicide Prevention Toolkit

Department of Health’s Gun Violence Intervention Team Releases Its Suicide Prevention Toolkit

September 3, 2021 — In Anne Arundel County, suicides account for nearly two-thirds of all gun fatalities. As a percentage, gun suicides in the county are more prevalent than in Maryland and the United States as a whole. Guns are the most common means in suicide deaths and the fifth most common means in suicide attempts.

To observe Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, help educate the public about gun-related suicides, and reduce suicides in the county, the Anne Arundel County Department of Health’s Gun Violence Intervention Team has released its online Suicide Prevention Toolkit at https://aahealth.civilspace.io/en/projects/suicide-prevention-toolkit.

Suicides can impact anyone, but they are not inevitable. The toolkit presents the county’s most recent data on gun-related suicides and outlines simple steps that every resident can take to reduce the risk of suicide for those they care about.  The kit provides resources including videos and graphics to connect individuals with free and confidential help, educate about the warning signs, and share specific ways to prevent suicide. The toolkit also includes a presentation on suicide and access to lethal means by Paul Nestadt, M.D., a researcher with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“This suicide prevention toolkit can help save lives, which is the mission of the Gun Violence Intervention Team,” said Nilesh Kalyanaraman, M.D., county health officer.  “It is our hope that the information can help shape public policy about gun violence, give communities the tools they need to protect themselves, and support residents whose lives have been touched by suicide and other gun-related incidents.”

The Gun Violence Intervention Team was established on August 12, 2020, following an executive order by County Executive Steuart Pittman declaring gun violence a public health issue. GVIT operates under the auspices of the Department of Health and works through collaborative meetings and workgroup efforts with more than a dozen partner agencies to use a public health approach, data and community engagement to address gun violence.

For more information about GVIT, email gun-violence-intervention@aacounty.org.

If you or someone you know is struggling, reach out to the Anne Arundel County Mental Health Agency’s Warmline at 410-768-5522, the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Crisis Text Line (text TALK to 741741).

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