According to the Maryland Health Department State Health Improvement Process (SHIP) data, Harford County ranks worse than the State average  for the following mental health and substance abuse issues:

  • Suicide rate
  • Drug induced death rate
  • Emergency department visits for addiction related conditions.

So what are we doing Locally?

Healthy Harford and the Local Health Improvement Coalition (LHIC) Behavioral Health Workgroup, representing agencies from all over the county, are working to help reverse these trends. Here are some of the local programs and services aimed at making a difference in our community:

  • Mental Health First Aid – free classes offered every month to help residents better understand mental health issues. 8 hour class. Attendees earn Mental Health First Aid Certification. See our Healthy Harford calendar for dates and locations.
  • Question, Persuade, Refer – free classes offered by the Harford County Health Department to help people learn how to speak to someone that might be at risk for suicide. 1.5 hr. class.
  • Mental Health Practitioner Resource Guide – Reference guide for medical Practitioners for quick reference as to who has availability to see patients in need of mental health services. Contact Paula Nash LCSW-C at the Harford County Health Department paula.nash@maryland.gov for a copy.
  • Depression Screening for School Age Children – Outreach effort to encourage Pediatricians to screen for depression during annual school physicals
  • Bel Air Parking Garage – Working to implement anti-suicide measures at the Bel Air Parking garage.
  • Friends R Family – local nonprofit working to address suicide and other mental health issues. Friends R Family has established a Suicide Prevention Club at Patterson Mill High School.
  • Senate Bill 97  – This new legislation, passed in October 2106, encourages jurisdictions to consider sanctioning an Opioid-Associated Disease Prevention and Outreach Program, as needed. Components of the program include syringe exchange, education, and treatment services, which have all been proven effective in decreasing IV drug use-related infections. Baltimore has had been expanding their program since 1984. It is recommended that Harford County should consider providing the same services.
  • Depression screenings at hospitals – At-risk patients are screened for depression and substance abuse at the University of Maryland Harford Memorial and Upper Chesapeake Medical Center.
  • Rapid Referrals for Pregnant Women with Addiction Issues – The Behavioral Health Work Group is working to establish a rapid referral process between Obstetric doctors and substance abuse providers to recognize pregnant women with addiction issues and link them with treatment.
  • Integrate Mental Health services into Primary Care – The University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health and Union Hospital are working on a program to integrate mental health into standard primary care practices.
  • Assist Addiction Recovery for Inmates – The Harford County Health Department has a Vivitrol program in the Detention Center to help addicts kick their habit before they are released.
  • Decrease Opioid Deaths – The Harford County Health Department conducts routine Nalaxone training for residents to help reduce deaths from opioid overdoses.
  • Crisis Intervention Training for Law Enforcement – The Harford County Sheriff’s Office has Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training to help deputies deal with situations involving mental illness.
  • Click here for Addiction Resources