For Immediate Release April 15, 2024

Jumaine Jones

Hospital Sponsors Star Athlete to Address Anne Arundel County Students at Meade High School . Photo credit AACPS

GLEN BURNIE, Md. (April 15, 2024) – More than 100 student-athletes at Meade High School met a former professional athlete for a special presentation on managing mental health while achieving success. Former National Basketball Association (NBA) player Jumaine Jones shared his personal journey to the NBA and insights on how students can prioritize their mental health during a special assembly for Meade High School students registered for spring sports.

Sponsored by the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC), the community engagement program is one of several collaborations between the health care organization and Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) aimed at supporting the health and well-being of the county's youth.

Mental health is becoming a more prominent issue across the nation, including in Anne Arundel County. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate among youth ages 15 – 19 increased 57% from 2009 to 2017. In 2022, the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County noted an increase in teachers and parents reporting mental health issues, especially cases of anxiety and depression, among young children.

"Creating access to mental health resources is incredibly important for the long-term success of our youth and the overall well-being of our community," said Kathy McCollum, UM BWMC President and CEO. "As an anchor institution, we're proud to work with Anne Arundel County Public Schools to introduce students to mental health education, coping strategies, and support resources that can prepare them to manage stressful situations and develop critical leadership skills that can be applied now, on the playing field, and throughout their lives.

Mental health awareness is a point of emphasis for AACPS Athletics during the 2023-2024 school year. UM BWMC worked closely with Meade Senior High School to create a program that could motivate student-athletes to start taking care of their mental health, and to share important messages of positivity and resilience.

Our students see professional athletes and think if they can get there, they can have this perfect life. But it doesn't always work that way," said Dr. Ryan Durr, principal at Meade High School. "As educators, we have a responsibility to prepare our youth for life's challenges. We're excited to collaborate with the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center to share Jumaine's story of perseverance with our students and to encourage our youth to ask for help and seek out mental health and well-being resources when they need them."

Known as the,"Thrilla From Camilla," Jones played basketball in the NBA from 1999 to 2007, and was a member of the gold-medal winning men's USA basketball team at the 1998 Goodwill Games. During his retirement, he became depressed and could no longer identify his life's purpose. It took him three years before he gained the courage to ask for professional help, and since then he's made it his life's work to connect with young athletes and youth and share messages of resilience, positivity and well-being.

"Our youth are dealing with repressed emotions and painful issues that they may not realize are affecting their performance in school and in their sports," said Jones, who is now the founder and president of the mental health organization 'Beyond the Hardwood Foundation. I'm excited to be here with the students today and hope that my story will help someone realize that they are not alone, and that there are resources in their community they can turn to for support," Jones said.

During the program, Jones shared five important tips he uses to help set goals and protect his mental health:

  1. Respect that life is a learning process.
  2. Train your mind for failure.
  3. Accept that you are different and love yourself.
  4. Be open to having conversations, especially ones that may be uncomfortable.
  5. Have the courage to ask for help.

"Everything in life is a learning process," Jones told the students. "To be successful you have to train your mind to be okay with failure so that you know how to handle it. Life is not easy; life be life-ing! But if you learn how to fail, you remove the fear and then there is nothing left to do but try and succeed."

UM BWMC has a long history of working with AACPS and local organizations to bring health-care resources and education to youth and families across the region. This school year, UM BWMC received a grant from the Laurel Race Course Impact Fund Advisory Committee to provide bilingual health education, screenings and workforce development opportunities to students, families and staff associated with Maryland City Elementary School. UM BWMC also co-hosts a Community Wellness Day twice a year with different public schools across the county to bring health and employment resources into neighborhoods. The next Community Wellness Day is Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Riviera Beach Elementary School in Pasadena, Maryland.

High quality images available on Dropbox.

About the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center

The University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC) is a 307-bed medical center committed to improving the health outcomes of the communities it serves. A member organization of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), UM BWMC is located in Glen Burnie (Anne Arundel County) and has more than 3,100 team members and 1,000 medical providers on staff. The medical group provides primary and specialty care services to individuals throughout the region. Together with community providers and faculty from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, UM BWMC offers a wide range of clinical programs including cancer, critical care, emergency, heart, lung, neurosciences, orthopedics, pediatric, primary care, vascular, and women's health. For more information, visit

About the University of Maryland Medical System

The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) is an academic private health system, focused on delivering compassionate, high quality care and putting discovery and innovation into practice at the bedside. Partnering with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and University of Maryland, Baltimore who educate the state's future health care professionals, UMMS is an integrated network of care, delivering 25 percent of all hospital care in urban, suburban and rural communities across the state of Maryland. UMMS puts academic medicine within reach through primary and specialty care delivered at 11 hospitals, including the flagship University of Maryland Medical Center, the System's anchor institution in downtown Baltimore, as well as through a network of University of Maryland Urgent Care centers and more than 150 other locations in 13 counties. For more information, visit