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For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 10, 2020

            Every year, thousands of individuals die by suicide, leaving behind friends and family to navigate the tragedy of their loss. Between July 1 and Aug. 15, 2020, nearly 400 Montgomery County residents went to a hospital emergency room due to self-injury or suicidal thoughts.

            In an effort to share resources and increase resident’s understanding of this sometimes taboo and stigmatized topic, Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Behavioral Health and Crisis Services, is posting daily messages on Twitter and Facebook to bring more awareness about resources and services the County offers.

            During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are experiencing higher levels of anxiety and depression. Between 2010 and 2018, the suicide mortality rate increased by 63 percent in Montgomery County, compared to 23 percent for Maryland and 17 percent for the U.S. population. In addition, national data reveal that for individuals between the ages of 15 and 34, Hispanic, Asian-American, and African-American populations are most at risk for death from suicide.

            “One suicide is too many,” said Dr. Raymond Crowel, director of DHHS. “If you or someone you know needs help, reach out.”

            In 2018, DHHS, in partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools and EveryMind, Inc. launched to address the issue of teen suicide and substance abuse prevention and provide resources. Nationally, suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-old young adults. The website, designed by 19-year-old Ray Crist, is aimed at helping teens understand how they can help themselves or someone they know who may be contemplating suicide.

            On Tuesday, Sept. 15, the County Council and County Executive will issue a proclamation to bring attention to the topic.

            If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the national Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call the County’s 24-hour Crisis Center at 240-777-4000. For information on mental health services, visit the DHHS website and search under crisis services.

            Follow DHHS on Facebook @mocdhhs, Twitter @MoCoDHHS and Instagram @ Btheone_org.

            For the latest COVID-19 updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website as well as the County’s data dashboard or follow Montgomery County on Facebook @MontgomeryCountyInfo and Twitter @MontgomeryCountyMD

            Put the “count” in Montgomery County! Be sure to complete the Census online, by phone, or by mail. It’s safe, confidential, easy, and important. #2020Census #EveryoneCountsMCMD

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Release ID: 20-489
Media Contact: Mary Anderson 240-777-6507