September is National Suicide Prevention Month
SANTA FE, NM — The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reports a six percent decrease in the number of suicides in the state in 2016. The decrease reverses a trend of rising suicide rates in New Mexico over the last three years. There were 469 reported suicides in New Mexico last year, down from 498 in 2015.
“The suicide of a loved one, whether it’s a parent, sibling, or friend, impacts the lives of those left behind forever.” said New Mexico Secretary of Health Lynn Gallagher, “Suicides are preventable, and this administration is determined to reach more New Mexicans early enough to get them support when they need it most.”
NMDOH plays a role in addressing state suicide rates in addition to state mental health services overseen by the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD).
Ongoing NMDOH prevention efforts include sharing data with communities and local organizations, as well as training public school staff and community members statewide in evidence-based suicide prevention practices. These presentations include information on how to identify and support people at risk, as well as the provision of media guidelines on safe reporting and messaging about suicide. These media guidelines lessen emotional harm to audiences that know a victim of suicide and prevent the future risk of someone seeing something in media that leads them to prematurely end their life as well.
Suicide, like other human behaviors, has no single determining cause. Data from the New Mexico Violent Death Reporting System show risk factors such as depression, abuse relationship problems, health conditions, financial challenges, and legal problems.
These are several warning signs:
- Talking about wanting to die.
- Looking for a way to kill oneself.
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose.
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
- Talking about being a burden to others.
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
- Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly.
- Sleeping too little or too much.
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
- Displaying extreme mood swings.
The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk. If someone you know exhibits warning signs of imminent suicide:
- Do not leave the person alone.
- Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
- Call the New Mexico Crisis Line at 1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
- Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.
For more information, please visit the NMDOH’s Suicide Prevention Program page at https://nmhealth.org/about/phd/hsb/supp/.