The Independent (USA)
Suicide statistics and percentages are real people—like our children
This is an open letter to our East Mountains and Estancia Valley Community.
On behalf of the Torrance County Domestic Violence and DWI Prevention Program, I would like to invite everyone to join us for the “Suicide Prevention and Embrace Life Celebration,” this Sunday, Sept. 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lake Arthur Park in Estancia. This event— sponsored The Independent and other community partners—will include a car show, Vitalant bloodmobile, booths, games, activities and non-traditional 5k, in which participants begin and end when they choose. The 5k route will be marked by informational signs about suicide, mental health and substance use. We will also have a fabulous gourmet lunch of hot dogs, buns and water, while supplies last.
While you may think that your life has not been impacted by suicide, it probably has in some way. In New Mexico, 515 people died by suicide in 2019. These people were family, friends, co-workers, the clerks at our favorite store, and more.
The New Mexico Department of Health statistics are frightening. In our state, suicide is the leading cause of death for children ages 10-14. TEN TO FOURTEEN! Here in New Mexico, it is the second leading cause of death for ages 15-34, the third leading cause of death for ages 35-44, the fifth leading cause of death for ages 45-54, the seventh leading cause of death for ages 55 to 64, and the ninth leading cause of death in the United States.
Statistics and percentages are just numbers, but they are numbers that represent real people. In 2019, 24.5% of Torrance County high school students reported that they had seriously considered suicide. Just a percentage? Maybe, but look at it this way: For a teacher who has 28 students in class, there is a good possibility that seven of those students have considered death by suicide. For a parent who has four children, there is a good possibility that one of those children has seriously considered death by suicide. For a child with four friends, there is a good possibility that one of those children has seriously considered suicide. Those percentages are no longer just numbers. They are our children, and they need our help.
Will our event stop suicide in our community? Sadly, that answer is no. It will, however, help us to provide information and resources so that people in need know where to find help. Among those booths are included mental health professionals. We will also have a young woman with lived experience who will speak about her own diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder, as well as the treatment that is helping her.
Please consider joining us. We still have room for more booths and would love to have you and your family be a part of this important event. We would also welcome additional volunteers!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via telephone at 505-705-0332.