There is concrete help to prevent suicides in Tricounty

Many of your readers may not know this, but September was Suicide Prevention Month. It wasn’t talked about widely in the community, but it was just as important as many of the other awareness campaigns. September is over, but that doesn’t mean that the risk of suicide—or the need to be aware—has decreased.

According to the 2015 New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey (YRRS), 22.8 percent of Torrance County middle school students reported that they had seriously thought about suicide; 13.7 percent reported that they had planned suicide and 8.2 percent reported that they had tried to kill themselves. Of the high school students surveyed, 19.7 percent reported that they had seriously considered suicide. That number was an increase from 14.1 percent in 2005 and compared to the state rate of 16.5 percent. Of those surveyed, 18.1 percent reported that they had a suicide plan, 11.3 percent reported they had attempted suicide and 5.9 percent reported that they had injured themselves in a suicide attempt.

While this information may appear to just be numbers thrown at you, it represents real youth in our community. These are our children, our neighbors, our friends’ children, and the kids down the street. Our youth are in trouble and we need to be on the alert.

Even with all of the dire news as it relates to self-harm and risk of suicide in the Torrance County, Moriarty-Edgewood School District area, there is hope. The Torrance County DWI Prevention Program works closely with the Tri-County Juvenile Justice Board, the New Mexico National DWI Memorial of Perpetual Tears, and other organizations to provide prevention education in our community.

Although the details contained in this letter pertain to youth suicide, the risk of suicide does not discriminate: There is no sector of the community that is immune. It doesn’t matter how much—or how little—someone earns. It doesn’t matter the color of someone’s skin. It doesn’t matter how much—or how little—education someone may have. It doesn’t care if someone is young or old. The risk of suicide is present in every sector of our community.

Most of us have felt the impact of a suicide, whether it was the death of a family member, co-worker, friend or even a stranger. People can and do survive those losses, but not without their lives being forever changed.

How can you help? One way is to take a Mental Health First Aid class. The October class is full, but we hope to have another in December or January. To learn more, please contact me at the number below. Additional classes may be scheduled for you or your staff upon request.

If you or someone you love is struggling, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. Here are some resources through which you may find that help:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255

New Mexico Crisis and Access Line: 855-NMCRISIS (855-662-7474)

Agora Crisis Center: 866-HELP-1-NM

Veterans Crisis Line: 800-273-8255

Wishing your readers long, happy and healthy lives.

Tracey Master, MA-Chap

Torrance County DWI Prevention Program Coordinator

Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor

Board Certified, Suicide Prevention