It still makes a lot of people uncomfortable to talk about suicide, but we’re talking with someone who has a lot of experience talking about it. She’s Amanda Askin, a school mental health advocate at the Office of School and Adolescent Health.
“I think overall there is still a stigma associated with mental health issues…so having a conversation about mental illness and addressing resources in our community is really important.”
Even as journalists, we try to be selective with who we report on when it comes to suicide. When we do, we avoid saying committed suicide, but say ‘died by suicide.’
According to official records, 31 young people 10 to 24 died by suicide in Dona Ana County. That was between 2007 and 2012.
Askin says losing interest in friends, not using proper hygiene and becoming angry easily – they’re all signs someone might be considering killing themselves.
She says there is one thing you can do that won’t give them the idea.
The biggest myth…is that if you talk about suicide that somehow it’s going to plant the idea in somebody’s head. Asking the question, do you feel like killing yourself? Are you suicidal? It is okay to bring up that word…I understand it’s a scary word and some people are concerned, wow, what if they say yes?”
If they say yes, there are a lot of resources Askin wants parents, teachers, students to know about.
One is at school.
“We have school based heath centers…some kind of mental health issue…depression…anxiety, they are screened for and an appropriate course of action is routed out for them.”
Also available are a number of hotlines and resources.
The NMSU WAVE Program serves Southern New Mexico at 1-575-646-CALL (2255).
The Trevor Project has a national hotline geared toward LGBT youth. Their number is 1-866-488-7386.
Crisis Lines available for all New Mexicans:
- National Suicide Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Press 1 for Veterans, Active Duty Military and Families
- For Hearing & Speech Impaired with TTY Equipment: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889)
- Crisis Response of Santa Fe (1-888-920-6333) operated by Presbyterian Medical Services (PMS) serves predominately the northern part of the state.
- Agora Crisis Center, operated by University of New Mexico
(277-3013 or 1-866-HELP-1-NM) serves predominately the central part of NM. Agora has expanded their program recently to accept CHATS, which has proven very popular with the teen population (www.Agoracares .org)
- NM State University WAVE Program’s CALL
(1-575-646-CALL 2255 or 1-866-314-6841) serves the southern portion of NM.
- The Trevor Project – 1-866-488-7386 www.thetrevorproject.org/
This is a free, confidential 24-hour hotline that focuses on
crises and suicide prevention among gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender youth. To talk to someone, call 1-866-4-U-TREVOR.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
(800) 950-NAMI (6264) http://bit.ly/namihelp
The Information HelpLine is an information and referral service
that can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 AM – 6 PM EST at
(800) 950-NAMI (6264)
- New Mexico Suicide Prevention Coalition 505-401-9382 http://www.nmsuicideprevention.org/
- LGBT Campus Resource Center at University of NM - 505-277-0834
- New Mexico Suicide Intervention Project, located at Sky Center, Devargas Middle School, Santa Fe. firstname.lastname@example.org 505-473-6191 or 505-820-1066