Youth Suicide Prevention School Program

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:

  • Classroom instruction about warning signs of suicide and suicide prevention strategies
  • Maryland Youth Crisis Hotline at 1-800-422-0009 and local suicide and crisis hotlines
  • Suicide intervention and postvention
  • Data collection
  • Teacher training

Contact Information

Deborah Nelson, Ph.D., NCSP
Section Chief, School Safety and Climate
Specialist, School Psychological Services
Maryland State Department of Education
200 W. Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-2595
410-767-0294 office
410-333-8418 fax

Lynne Muller
Section Chief, Student Services and
School Counseling Specialist
Maryland State Department of Education
200 W. Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-2595
410-333-8148 (fax)

Student, Family and School Support

​Resource Guide of Maryland School Mental Health and Wellness Programs

Youth Suicide Prevention School Program

Local Contacts

Related Sites and Resources

Prevention and Intervention Programs and Materials

Resources for Parents

PowerPoint Presentations

Hotline and Lifeline Numbers

  • Maryland Youth Crisis Hotline Network 800-422-0009
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Trevor Lifeline 866-488-7386 National hotline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.