“I overdosed three times and had to be revived with Narcan,” said Augustus Balderson, a recovering drug addict. “I always had depression, anxiety and all of that. I used [drugs] to start coping with it, and it just escalated.”
You always think, “Well…that won’t happen to me,” or, “My child would never do that.”
But the reality is no one is immune to mental illness.
Thus, local officials are taking steps to raise public awareness on the issue through BTheOne, a campaign to prevent suicide and substance abuse in Montgomery County.
The campaign’s new website provides resources and methods to help people contemplating suicide or drug abuse.
Officials said, in five steps, you can be the one to save a life: Ask, keep them safe, be there, help them connect and follow up.
You will see flyers with these steps posted throughout the community, ranging from libraries to bus shelters and 67 middle and high schools.
“BTheOne is focused on our children,” said Raymond Crowel, Chief of Behavioral Health and Crisis Services.
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among school age youth, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
“The path that led to those tragic losses begins a whole lot earlier than adulthood,” Crowel said.
In Maryland, 26 percent of high school students reported that they have used marijuana one or more times in their lifetime.
BTheOne is aimed at broadening the support network for struggling individuals, so they choose a more positive path back to good mental health.
“You’re not a junior psychologist. It’s making sure you’re a good friend,” said Susan Rosenstock, parent of a teen who died by suicide.
“We can be the one, but more importantly, you can be the one, and we urge you to be that one,” Montgomery County Council Executive Ike Leggett said.