Important information about National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week

by Mescalero Apache Tribe | September 10, 2020 3:44 pm

Hello, Suicide Prevention Coalition Members, Friends, and Advocates:

The New Mexico Crisis and Access Line, the New Mexico Department of Health Office of Injury Prevention and the Office of Adolescent and School Health, the Agora Crisis Center, and the Native American Suicide Prevention Council are sending this reminder that September 6th through September11th is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week.

This Week falls within the context of New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s recent Proclamation of September 2020 as Suicide Prevention Month in New Mexico. Our state’s rates of suicide have been among the highest in the nation for the past two decades, and there is a dire need for ALL New Mexicans to become involved to help prevent the nearly 10 deaths a week from suicide that now occur across our state.

Here are 8 things you can do, or help others to do!

1. Learn more about suicide!

Search the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[1], the Suicide Prevention Resource Center[2], the Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors[3], and Indian Health Service[4] websites for information about suicide, risk factors, and protective influences for people in all ages and cultural groups.

2. Take a Suicide Gatekeeper Skills Training Class!

Effective programs include the 90-minute Question, Persuade, Refer[5] program; a day-long Mental Health First Aid[6] and Youth Mental Health First Aid[7] courses; and a 2-day Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training[8]. Click on the program names to read content descriptions. Some courses are offered on-line and generally charge a fee. Others are offered free through various grant awards or may be offered locally at places of work and in community and school settings.

3. Engage in cultural traditions and activities, and connect with people who may be lonely, Isolated, or depressed.

Feeling connected within the community and with other individuals helps to protect against the despair that can lead to suicide.

4. Limit access to lethal means!

Help to keep at-risk individuals from gaining access to firearms, medications, and other means to injure themselves. The Counseling on Access to Lethal Means[9] program is a free 2-hour on-line course that teaches how to help prevent suicide by applying specific strategies to keep at-risk people safe. Be sure to store firearms safely using a locked cabinet or gun lock. Store ammunition separately and locked up as well.

5. Help reduce stigma about mental health challenges.

Be thoughtful about your use of language in talking with and about people with mental health challenges. Use person-centered language. For example, say “He has schizophrenia” rather than “He is a schizophrenic.” Say “She has a substance use disorder” rather than “She is a junkie.” This reminds us that people with mental health challenges are more than their conditions or illnesses.

6. Exercise!

Exercise is effective in helping to reduce depression. Invite someone who may be having thoughts of suicide or who is depressed to join you outdoors on a Covid-safe walk.

7. Advocate for behavioral health and substance use treatment services!

Encourage community and tribal leaders to increase their efforts to secure much-needed funding to improve access to mental and behavioral health and substance use treatment services across the entire state. These services are especially needed in frontier and rural communities.

8. Update your phone!

Add these important numbers into your phone:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

New Mexico Crisis and Access Line: 1-855-662-7474

Agora Crisis Center Line: 505-277-3013 Also, download the NMConnect app to call, text, and access mental health resources in New Mexico.

All information provided by Lincoln Co. Community Health Council, New Mexico Department of Health Suicide Prevention Coordinator and Mescalero Responsible Gaming Coordinator.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
  2. Suicide Prevention Resource Center:
  3. Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors:
  4. Indian Health Service:
  5. Question, Persuade, Refer:
  6. Mental Health First Aid:
  7. Youth Mental Health First Aid:
  8. Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training:
  9. Counseling on Access to Lethal Means:

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