Research is clear that there is an inextricable link between students' emotional and mental health and their ability to learn. A student is not able to benefit from the educational program if the student is suicidal or if the student is preoccupied by concerns about someone who may be thinking about suicide. Few events have greater impact than suicide upon students, parents, and staff. The Student Services and Alternative Programs Branch staff is committed to providing technical assistance about effective youth suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention (i.e., support and assistance for those affected by a completed suicide.)
Suicide continues to be a leading cause of death in the United States and in Maryland. According to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide continues to be the third leading cause of death for youth in the United States and in Maryland. During 2014, Maryland lost 73 youth due to suicide. The results of the 2014 Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) indicate 12.7% of Maryland high school students reported making a plan to commit suicide in the past twelve months, and 15.9% seriously considered attempting suicide during the previous year. The data demonstrate the importance of the statewide Youth Suicide Prevention School Program established in the Annotated Code of Maryland §7-503.
The Maryland program establishes a shared responsibility between educational programs at the State and local levels and community suicide prevention and crisis center agencies. The recommended statewide program includes:
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