(To the left) Sandoval County undersheriff Tim
Lucero accepts from County Commissioner Jack Thomas a certificate
recognizing his service in the New Orleans area after Hurricane
Katrina. Also honored were (left to right) Sgt. Ed Morrison, deputy
Joe Harris, and reserve deputy Paul Caputo, who accompanied Lucero
on the mission.
A focus on suicide prevention efforts
—U.S. REPRESENTATIVE TOM UDALL
Last week, New Mexico proudly took a step forward in advancing suicide
prevention and early intervention, and its dedication to saving
our children's lives. The New Mexico Department of Health has received
$400,000 in federal funding—one of the first ever federal
grants specifically for youth suicide prevention—from the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The funding was made possible by the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial
Act of 2004. My cousin, Senator Gordon Smith (R-Oregon), wrote the
legislation in tribute to his son, Garrett, who died by suicide
on September 8, 2003, one day short of his twenty-second birthday.
Garrett suffered from manic depression. This funding will provide
important resources to help identify at-risk youth and foster better
coordination and communication to develop the best ways to prevent
other painful losses.
Suicide rates have been rising steadily among the young and nearly
tripled between 1952 and 1995. Suicide now ranks as the second-leading
cause of death for American college students. Suicide is the third-leading
cause of death between the ages of ten and twenty-four, according
to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Youth suicide is a personal tragedy for affected families and loved
ones, and a national public health crisis. Sadly, New Mexico has
the highest rate of suicide in the nation among children and ranks
second for the number of teen suicides. Among our high school students,
21 percent report having thought seriously about killing themselves
in the past year and 15 percent have actually made a suicide attempt.
These figures are frightening and unacceptable, especially given
that the risk factors for suicide are well known and highly treatable.
New Mexico's Garrett Lee Smith grant will assist in expanding our
current suicide prevention and intervention efforts in schools and
communities by increasing statewide capacity, with a focus on four
priority sites with the greatest unmet needs. Key components of
the plan include programs such as the Columbia University TeenScreen
Program, which offers voluntary mental-health checkups so youth
at-risk for suicide are identified early and offered referrals to
qualified mental health professionals for appropriate intervention.
New Mexico already has an extremely successful TeenScreen program,
with twenty-two sites currently operating and helping our youth.
This new funding will now enable TeenScreen to expand to new locations
and reach more at-risk youth who are needlessly suffering in silence.
Too many families have faced tragedies that could have been avoided.
We need to identify these young people and help them avoid making
a devastating mistake. We have a long way to go in our fight to
address youth suicide, but the award of this grant is a great step
forward and a testament to our commitment as we continue to make
youth mental health a state priority. Let us serve as an example
for the country in making it a national priority, as well.
Web site informs New Mexicans about consumer
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“I encourage New Mexicans not only to subscribe to receive
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questionable schemes to the Consumer Protection Division, at 1 (800)
678-1508,” Attorney General Patricia Madrid said.
Visitors logging on to the Web site should click on the You Should
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click the Subscribe button, which will direct them to a form where
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