Health Promotion & Injury Prevention

The mission of the Health Education division of the Columbia County Department of Health is to improve the Public’s Health through education, evidence-based interventions, and effective communication. The Public Health Promotion program educates the community about how to prevent disease in order to improve health and quality of life.
The program:

Health Education Program

Educational programs are available to groups on a wide range of topics, including:

  • “Tar Wars” tobacco use prevention program for students (age range 4th-5th grade and above)
  • Hand Washing and Infection Prevention, including the Scrubby Bear Hand Washing Program for young children; the Bacteria Blasters Program for older children; and Hand Washing and Infection Prevention for people of all ages (“Train the Trainer” workshops are also available)
  • Scrubby Bear Hand Washing Train-the-Trainer Program for day care providers and teachers
  • An introduction to “Healthy Monday – the Day All Health Breaks Loose”
  • Implementing Physical Activity “Bursts” in the Classroom and Increasing Physical Activity During the School Day (a workshop for teachers and faculty);  Increasing Physical Activity in the Child Care Setting
  • Preventing Lyme Disease and Other Tick-Borne Diseases
  • Re-Think Your Drink: All About Sugar-Sweetened Drinks and their Health Effects
  • Sexual Health and STD Prevention
  • Emergency Preparedness, including American Red Cross programs Masters of Disaster for children and Be Red Cross Ready for adults (“Train the Trainer” workshops are also available)
  • Falls Prevention for Older Adults
  • Depression in Older Adults
  • Immunization Topics
  • An Overview of Columbia County Department of Health Programs and Services
  • and more

We are happy to visit groups and organizations to provide workshops and presentations – for example, schools, summer camps, day care centers, worksites, businesses, senior groups, community groups, and many others. We look forward to serving you!


For health information, please visit our Links to Information Resources page.


Download the Columbia County Health Department mobile app:

Medication Drop Boxes

Anyone can deposit discontinued, expired or unwanted medications, especially controlled substances. First…Safeguard your medications…Second…dispose of the ones that are no longer needed or outdated. No Questions asked and No Paperwork required. Just put your medications in these boxes, including prescription narcotics.

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Rising Abuse.

Prescription drug abuse has increased and even surpassed the use of most illicit drugs. Overdoses have taken lives.

Adults, Teens and Kids.

Adults, teens and even kids at younger ages abuse drugs. Many teens consider prescription and over-the-counter medications as party drugs. Parents are not aware that their own medicine cabinets are often the sources of these drugs.

Private Households only.

The drop boxes are for private households only. They are not intended for use by pharmacies or veterinarians. Please do NOT use the boxes for … syringes, IV bags, bloody or infectious waste, inhalers, soaps and shampoos, empty containers, or trash.

Environmentally Safe.

The medications will be properly incinerated at a licensed facility. People should not flush unused drugs because that pollutes the water supply and throwing them into the garbage makes it an easy target for thieves and pets.

Syringe Disposal

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

English: 1-800-273-8255
Ayuda En Español: 1-888-628-9454


According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Warning Signs for Suicide are:

  • The person is talking about wanting to kill themselves, or saying they wish they were dead
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as hoarding medicine or buying a gun
  • Talking about a specific suicide plan
  • Feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Feeling trapped, desperate, or needing to escape from an intolerable situation
  • Having the feeling of being a burden to others
  • Feeling humiliated
  • Having intense anxiety and/or panic attacks
  • Losing interest in things, or losing the ability to experience pleasure
  • Insomnia
  • Becoming socially isolated and withdrawn from friends, family, and others
  • Acting irritable or agitated
  • Showing rage, or talking about seeking revenge for being victimized or rejected, whether or not the situations the person describes seem real

Suicide Prev Lifeline English

Suicide Prev Lifeline Spanish

What To Do When You Suspect Someone May Be at Risk for Suicide?

Take it Seriously

  • 50% to 75% of all people who attempt suicide tell someone about their intention.
  • If someone you know shows the warning signs above, the time to act is now.

Ask Questions

  • Begin by telling the suicidal person you are concerned about them.
  • Tell them specifically what they have said or done that makes you feel concerned about suicide.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask whether the person is considering suicide, and whether they have a particular plan or method in mind. These questions will not push them toward suicide if they were not considering it.
  • Ask if they are seeing a clinician or are taking medication so the treating person can be contacted.
  • Do not try to argue someone out of suicide. Instead, let them know that you care, that they are not alone and that they can get help. Avoid pleading and preaching to them with statements such as, “You have so much to live for,” or “Your suicide will hurt your family.”

Encourage Professional Help

  • Actively encourage the person to see a physician or mental health professional immediately.
  • People considering suicide often believe they cannot be helped. If you can, assist them to identify a professional and schedule an appointment. If they will let you, go to the appointment with them.

Take Action

  • If the person is threatening, talking about, or making specific plans for suicide, this is a crisis requiring immediate attention. Do not leave the person alone.
  • Remove any firearms, drugs, or sharp objects that could be used for suicide from the area.
  • Take the person to a walk-in clinic at a psychiatric hospital or a hospital emergency room.
  • If these options are not available, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for assistance.

Follow-Up on Treatment

  • Still skeptical that they can be helped, the suicidal person may need your support to continue with treatment after the first session.
  • If medication is prescribed, support the person to take it exactly as prescribed. Be aware of possible side effects, and notify the person who prescribed the medicine if the suicidal person seems to be getting worse, or resists taking the medicine. The doctor can often adjust the medications or dosage to work better for them.
  • Help the person understand that it may take time and persistence to find the right medication and the right therapist. Offer your encouragement and support throughout the process, until the suicidal crisis has passed.

For more information: please visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website.
Local Contact Information for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP):
P.O. Box 486, East Greenbush, NY 12061 | (518) 791-1544 | Website
Contact: Laura Marx, Area Director for Capital Region Email
Hours: Monday-Friday: 9:00am-5:00pm.

The Wingman Project

The Wingman Project is a Suicide Prevention Resource for Airmen and their families.

Need Help Now? – Call: 1-800-273-TALK or Text: 838255
Necesita ayuda Ahora? – Llame al 1-888-628-9454 or Text: 838255