ANNAPOLIS — Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford recently joined the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs and the Maryland Department of Health for a discussion on efforts to prevent suicide and to launch the “Ask the Question” campaign.

According to a news release, the “Ask the Question” campaign is a suicide prevention strategy that encourages human services professionals, state and local government and community providers to ask people whether they or a loved one have served in the military.

Asking this question promotes the opportunity to educate and connect more people to valuable military- and veteran-related programs, thereby improving overall well-being of service members, veterans and families, the release states.

“Our veterans have given more to this nation than many of us can ever fully know,” Rutherford said. “So many throughout our history have made the ultimate sacrifice — and countless more bear visible and invisible wounds that may never truly heal. I am proud to support the Ask a Question campaign as I continue my commitment to improving Maryland’s mental health care delivery system, so that we may better serve our veterans and anyone who may be struggling.”

The campaign is part of the Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide among Service Members, Veterans and Families, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department for Veterans Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“I’m proud to announce the launch of the ‘Ask the Question’ campaign to help connect members of our military community with the critical resources our state has to offer,” Gov. Larry Hogan said. “Our service members and veterans never stopped fighting for us, and we will never stop fighting for them.”

The Maryland Challenge Team — headed by MDVA and MDH’s Maryland Commitment to Veterans Office — has developed an action plan that utilizes a public health approach, community-based prevention strategies, and evidence-based clinical interventions to empower action and support service members and veterans.

“MDVA and MDH are working hard to end service member and veteran suicide by engaging a wide range of partners from different sectors,” said MDVA Secretary George Owings. “(The) campaign launch will raise awareness of suicide prevention resources in our community, educate professionals on military culture, and improve the lives of our military service members and veterans.”

For more information on this initiative, visit or email Joy Ashcraft, Challenge Team lead, or Dana Burl, Challenge Team co-lead,

Service members or veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a service member or veteran in crisis, can call the Military and Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at Veterans

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