You are not alone…
A topic that most want to avoid is suicide.
But the subject this week is getting a lot of recognition, with the hope that awareness and funds might help those in need.
According to population data in 2018, New Mexico was second in the nation for suicides. Wyoming was number one. Today, it is ranked 4th, under Wyoming, Alaska and Montana. About 24 per 100,000 people in NM have had a suicide-related death.
Elizabeth Lawrence MD, Chief Wellness Officer in the UNM School of Medicine, said: “in the pandemic, with rising rates of anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and distress, everyone has been talking about the importance of getting help and resources have been expanded. We’ve come a long way. . . but there’s still a lot of work to do.”
Lawrence said for deaths by suicide to be prevented, people need to have conversations about it. She also said alerting people to what it is, telling people how to talk about it, how to recognize signs of distress and how to approach people having distress can help.
“It’s important to talk about suicide because, whether we talk about it or not, it is a part of our world today,” Lawrence said.
Efforts to prevent suicide have been constant in all parts of the world. The U.S. has been a part of the action for a while.
Since 2002, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s “Out of the Darkness Walks” has brought friends, neighbors, family members and colleagues together to walk through their communities to raise public awareness and funds to support suicide prevention, including education programs in local schools and workplaces.
Since then, the foundation has helped to create several hot lines in the U.S. The most recent one, 988, helps anyone and can be completely anonymous.
Here are the hotlines available:
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline – The Lifeline provides 24-hour, confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. 988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call or text 988 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
Agora Crisis Center – Affiliated with The University of New Mexico, Agora is accredited by the International Council for Helplines and is a member of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. Agora Crisis Center is confidential and offered free of charge to people of all ages anytime. Call 505-277-3013 to speak with trained volunteers.
The Trevor Project Hotline – The Trevor Project provides 24/7 crisis support services to LGBTQ young people. Call 1-866-488-7386 to reach a trained counselor.
The funds gathered by AFSP support those who’ve lost loved ones, advocate for critical mental health and suicide prevention legislation and allows scientific research that helps people learn more about how they can save more lives.
“Out of the Darkness Walks” are a way to donate and support the cause. But according to AFSP, it also allows people who have experienced loss to grieve.
Here are the walks that are occurring in NM this month:
September 10, Johnson Field, UNM Main Campus