we are currently accepting proposals for an after school program: 

The Somerset County Health Department is accepting proposals for an after school program that provides support and resources for youth dealing with mental health impacts of COVID-19. These funds are made possible through the Maryland Department of Health, Office of Population Health Improvement (OPHI) Substance Abuse Block Supplement Grant Funds. All Somerset County community based organizations, churches, and non-profit organizations are encouraged to apply for grant funding. Priority will be given to programs that provide after school care and services to high-risk and/or hard to reach segments of the population of which we wish to reach, i.e. youth. Proposals must be mailed or hand delivered to Christie Taylor at the Somerset County Health Department, 8928 Sign Post Road, Westover, MD 21871 by 3:00 p.m. on October 15, 2021. 

the full after school program application can be found here

did you know? 

  • The 3rd leading cause of death among 15-19 year old’s is suicide
  • Half of all mental health conditions start by age 14 
  • The earlier a treatment is started for mental illness the more effective it can be 


1 Out of 5 youth experience a mental health disorder each year. 

  •  Mental Health conditions are common. You are not alone in this. Help is available. 





3 out of 4 mental health challenges begin by age 24.

  • Many people do not report their experiences. Finding support begins with better understanding by those around you. 
  • Start by sharing your feelings with an adult you trust like a parent, counselor or coach. 





8 out of 10 teens are calling for a major change in the national mental health conversation.

  • Teens are saying that it is time to talk more openly and honestly about mental health issues in the U.S. 




You’re at a critical time of growth and change. Speak your truth, find help, and learn skills that can prepare you for challenges in the future!

  • Talk to a counselor, coach, teacher, mentor, parent, guardian, or another adult you trust.
  • Ask your doctor or school nurse for recommendations and for help finding a therapist or mental health specialist.
  • Your relationship with your mental health specialist is important! If the first person you see isn’t a good fit, keep looking for a comfortable match. 

Try these questions to start a conversation about your mental health with trusted people in your life.

  • I haven’t felt right lately and I’m not sure what to do. Can I talk about it with you? 
  • I’m having a really hard time lately, will you go with me to see someone? 
  • I’m really worried about stuff that’s going on right now, can you help me find mental health support?

mental illness can affect anyone. your mental health is just as important to take care of as your physical health. 

  •  Take this screening test to determine if you are experiencing symptoms of a mental illness Take a Mental Health Test | MHA Screening
  • Talk to you or your child’s healthcare provider to figure out treatment options

National suicide hotline: 1-800-273-talk (8255)

National eating disorder association: 1-800-931-2237

crisis text line: TEXT SUPPORT to 741-741 



types of Bullying

There are three types of bullying:

  • Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:
    • Teasing
    • Name-calling
    • Inappropriate sexual comments
    • Taunting
    • Threatening to cause harm
  • Social bullyingsometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:
    • Leaving someone out on purpose
    • Telling other children not to be friends with someone
    • Spreading rumors about someone
    • Embarrassing someone in public
  • Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:
    • Hitting/kicking/pinching
    • Spitting
    • Tripping/pushing
    • Taking or breaking someone’s things
    • Making mean or rude hand gestures

what is cyberBullying?

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.

The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are:

  • Social Media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok
  • Text messaging and messaging apps on mobile or tablet devices
  • Instant messaging, direct messaging, and online chatting over the internet
  • Online forums, chat rooms, and message boards, such as Reddit
  • Email
  • Online gaming communities

Signs a Child Is Being Bullied

Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs.

Some signs that may point to a bullying problem are: 

  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide

If you know someone in serious distress or danger, don’t ignore the problem. Get help right away.

Signs a Child is Bullying Others

Kids may be bullying others if they:   

  • Get into physical or verbal fights
  • Have friends who bully others
  • Are increasingly aggressive
  • Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
  • Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
  • Blame others for their problems
  • Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
  • Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity

Kids Who are Bullied

Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical, social, emotional, academic, and mental health issues. Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience:

  • Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.
  • Health complaints
  • Decreased academic achievement—GPA and standardized test scores—and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.

A very small number of bullied children might retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.

Kids Who Bully Others

Kids who bully others can also engage in violent and other risky behaviors into adulthood. Kids who bully are more likely to:

  • Abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults
  • Get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school
  • Engage in early sexual activity
  • Have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults 
  • Be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses, or children as adults


Kids who witness bullying are more likely to:

  • Have increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs
  • Have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety
  • Miss or skip school

The Relationship between Bullying and Suicide

Media reports often link bullying with suicide. However, most youth who are bullied do not have thoughts of suicide or engage in suicidal behaviors. 

Although kids who are bullied are at risk of suicide, bullying alone is not the cause. Many issues contribute to suicide risk, including depression, problems at home, and trauma history. Additionally, specific groups have an increased risk of suicide, including American Indian and Alaskan Native, Asian American, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. This risk can be increased further when these kids are not supported by parents, peers, and schools. Bullying can make an unsupportive situation worse.



  • DO tell an adult you can trust if you’re being bullied or witness someone else being bullied
  • DO use care when posting personal information or photos 
  • DO remember to be kind and treat others the way you want to be treated


  • DON’T open emails from people you don’t know and never share your passwords
  • DON’T use social media to embarrass or harass another person
  • DON’T be apart of the problem or join in on the bullying



abstinence & sexual risk avoidance 

what is consent? 

  • Permission for something to happen or an agreement to do something

Peer pressure is likely to occur in your lifetime, so it is important to set clear boundaries for yourself. Respecting yourself and others will help form these crucial boundaries and healthy relationships. When it comes to sexual relationships, you have the right to decide whether you want to participate or not. Remember consent is needed with both partners and if at any point you are not comfortable it is still okay to SAY NO. 

healthy relationships have…

  • Respect
  • Trust
  • Honesty
  • Compromise
  • Good Communication
  • Understanding

UNhealthy relationships have…

  • Fear
  • Hostility
  • Violence
  • Control
  • Dependence 
  • Humiliation




Abstinence is the only 100% way of preventing unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases or infections

how does abstinence work? 

Abstinence (AB-stih-nints) is the simplest form of birth control. If two people don’t have sex, sperm can’t fertilize an egg and there’s no possibility of pregnancy.

With abstinence, no barriers or pills are needed.

A person doesn’t have to be a virgin to practice abstinence. Sometimes, someone who has been having sex decides to stop doing so. A person who has been having sex can still choose abstinence to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the future.

who practices abstinence? 

Not having sex may seem easy because it’s not doing anything. But peer pressure and other things can make the decision to practice abstinence difficult. If it seems like everybody else is having sex, you may feel like you have to also.

But teasing or pressure from friends, a girlfriend, or a boyfriend shouldn’t push you into something that’s not right for you.

Choosing abstinence is an important decision — and yours to make.


benefits of abstinence 

  • Figuring out creative ways to enjoy time with your partner besides sex 
  • Getting to know your partner on a deeper level 
  • Knowing that your partner likes you for you and not your body
  • Focusing on school, sports and activities

Teen Sexual Health Fact Sheet Somerset 4.16.2020


what is #mumo?Image:  Mess Up Miss Out #MuMo logo

It’s a free app and social media hashtag that stands for “Mess Up/Miss Out”. Maybe you’ve heard of #FOMO— Fear of Missing Out? The reality is that if you “mess up” by making risky choices, those decisions can impact the rest of your life. And then you’ll really miss out. 

#MUMO provides straight talk information mixed with a little fun, giving the truth about risky behavior. Whether the topic is sex, smoking, drugs or mental health issues, #MUMO has interactive resources and information for teens (and adults) at their fingertips.

On the app you will find quizzes about facts and myths, hotline numbers to call, resources, tips for parents and teens, conversation starters, treatment options and much more.

For more information about #MUMO download the free app in the Google Play store for Android phones and the iTunes store for iPhone.


talking points for parents 

Have that conversation about Sex

Talking to your Teen About Sex


distracted driving 

Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,142 lives in 2019 alone, nearly a 10% increase from 2018.

Driving while distracted can make it difficult to react during a potential crash, especially for teen drivers. Peer passengers, talking or texting on a cell phone, changing the radio, eating, or applying makeup are all dangerous distractions. If the brain is thinking about anything other than driving, it can make it difficult to react during a potential crash, especially for inexperienced teen drivers

Beyond sharing facts and statistics about distracted driving, parents need to model safe driving behaviors by not using a cell phone —  whether hands-free or hand-held — while driving (including at stoplights)  and not applying makeup, fiddling with the radio, or eating when behind the wheel.

Parents should limit peer passengers for their newly licensed teens, a major crash risk. Two or more peer passengers more than triples the risk of a fatal crash with a teen behind the wheel. The aim is engaged driving, where teen drivers are continuously attentive and focused.

that distraction is not worth your or someone elses life.


the statistics

  • In 2019, 39% of high school students reported texting or emailing while driving during the past month.

  • Even though teens recognize that talking or texting on a cell phone or using social media apps while driving is unsafe, they often engage in these behaviors anyway.

  • Teen drivers receive the most calls from their parents, more than general calling patterns would suggest.

how to prevent distracted driving: 

What drivers can do

  • Do not multitask while driving. Whether it’s adjusting your mirrors, picking the music, eating a sandwich, making a phone call, or reading an email―do it before or after your trip, not during.
  • You can use appsexternal icon to help you avoid cell phone use while driving. Consider trying an app to reduce distractions while driving.

What passengers can do

  • Speak up if you are a passenger in a car with a distracted driver. Ask the driver to focus on driving.
  • Reduce distractions for the driver by assisting with navigation or other tasks.

What parents can do6

  • Talk to your teen or young adult about the rules and responsibilities involved in driving. Share stories and statistics related to teen/young adult drivers and distracted driving.
    • Remind them driving is a skill that requires the driver’s full attention.
    • Emphasize that texts and phone calls can wait until arriving at a destination.
  • Familiarize yourself with your state’s graduated driver licensing systemexternal icon and enforce its guidelines for your teen.
  • Know your state’s laws on distracted drivingexternal icon. Many states have novice driver provisions in their distracted driving laws. Talk with your teen about the consequences of distracted driving and make yourself and your teen aware of your state’s penalties for talking or texting while driving.
  • Set consequences for distracted driving. Fill out CDC’s Parent-Teen Driving Agreementpdf icon together to begin a safe driving discussion and set your family’s rules of the road. Your family’s rules of the road can be stricter than your state’s law. You can also use these simple and effective ways to get involved with your teen’s driving: Parents Are the Key.
  • Set an example by keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel while driving.
  • Learn more: visit NHTSA’s website on safe teen drivingexternal icon.

remember that actions have consequences. protect yourself and others on the road but not driving distracted. 

additional resources 

I Just Got My License – Now What? (for Teens) – Nemours KidsHealth











For more information call 443.523.1700

Adolescent Health and Sexual Risk Avoidance Education

we are currently accepting proposals for an after school program:  The Somerset County Health Department is accepting proposals for an after school program that provides support and resources for youth dealing with mental health impacts of COVID-19. These funds are made possible through the Maryland Department of Health, Office of Population Health Improvement (OPHI) Substance…

Go to Adolescent Health and Sexual Risk Avoidance Education →

Narcan / Naloxone (Overdose Response Program)

Overdose Response Program The Overdose Response Program offers free training and certification in the use of naloxone, the life-saving medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. The program provides information on how to recognize an opioid overdose, administer naloxone, and care for the individual until emergency services arrive. Individuals who complete the training program will receive…

Go to Narcan / Naloxone (Overdose Response Program) →

View Full Site
Return to Top