Suicide Prevention and Awareness

By Whitney Oliphant, Staff Reporter

CNM Westside Campus held a suicide prevention talk for students and staff on September 30, 2015.

The workshop is designed to help everyone understand warning signs and how to get someone help, Brown said.

The guest speakers included Mike Hillard, who is a full time psychology instructor, and Jenn Brown, who works at Agora Crisis Center.

Jenn Brown has volunteered at Agora for two years and has been on staff for three years and she now goes around educating the youth on suicide prevention.

New Mexico is a very at risk state for death by suicide and attributes and this is due to New Mexico being a very rural state and the poorest state in the country, she said.

“With New Mexico being rural this means that we are very isolated,” she said.

New Mexico is ranked 3rd nationally for death by suicide, she said.

For every one person who dies as a result of suicide around fifty people are then affected, Brown said.

The most at risk include older white men who are over the age of 60 but that does not mean that others are not also at risk, she said.

There are many different reasons as to why a person may be depressed, she said.

Agora Crisis Center is a confidential and free service for those who need help and need someone to listen, Brown said.

To reach someone at Agora the number for the Albuquerque area is (505)-277-3013 or statewide it is 1-866-HELP-1-NM.

Depression is a major factor in suicide, she said.

Depression is a chronic physical illness that affects our bodies and our brains, she said.

It is different from other illnesses in that it is not something that people can see, Brown said.

Chronic depression can last from months to years at a time, she said.

Depression can also lower your immune system and your ability to fight off infections, said Michael Hillard, CNM instructor.

“Imagine being in the deepest, darkest, moss covered well that you can’t get out of, that’s what depression is like,” Brown said.

Some of the warning signs of depression can include weight changes, lethargy, not leaving the house, and avoiding friends, she said.

Depression really is different for everyone, and will affect everyone in a different way, she said.

“Depression is not a one size fit’s all shoe,” Brown said.

It is important to realize if a behavior is abnormal or out of the ordinary for that specific person or there is a sudden change in what the person is interested in then that individual may be suffering from a form of depression, she said.

For instance if they have always enjoyed dance and now they want nothing to do with dance, then that may be a sign of depression said, Brown.

Self-injury types of behavior such as pinching, slapping, or hitting oneself could be a sign of depression as well, said Hillard.

It is important to recognize the behavior changes and warning signs and try to get that person help said, Brown.

There is a stigma behind asking someone about suicide or depression said, Brown.

It’s important to ask a person if they are thinking of killing themselves no matter how uneasy it may make the person asking feel, she said.

“It’s important to remember that you asking about suicide will in no way cause someone to commit suicide,” said Brown

Instead of asking someone if they are thinking about hurting themselves ask them instead if they are thinking about suicide, she said.

There a few different ways to help someone who is in that kind of a situation, she said.

You can tell them about Agora which is a confidential free service available to anyone who needs to talk or just someone to listen, she said.

Agora can help refer people to regular therapy sessions if the individual is interested.

“It’s also important to make time for yourself and to spend time with those that make you feel better if someone is going through a hard time,” Hillard said.

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