Mental health advocates worry about pandemic's impact on suicide rates | KOB 4

Mental health advocates worry about pandemic's impact on suicide rates

Kai Porter
Updated: September 13, 2020 10:03 PM
Created: September 13, 2020 06:38 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Mental health advocates said the pandemic has made the need for suicide prevention even more important right now, which is why they’re making sure virtual resources are still available.

"With COVID going on right now we see a lot of people losing their jobs, losing their homes, not being able to feed their families. Stressors of maybe their anxieties because they're afraid to get COVID,” said Bee Chavez, New Mexico chair for the Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Chavez said New Mexico ranked number one in the nation for suicide loss in 2018. Although statistics for this year have not been made available, Chavez said calls to crisis and support lines have been on the rise since the pandemic hit in mid-March.

"We continue to get calls from families that have recently lost somebody and we want to make sure that we give them the support and we also help those that struggle,” she said. “Even though we're number one, we're not giving up hope.”

Chavez said the foundation hosts walks every year called Out of the Darkness to raise awareness. Since COVID-19 is still a concern, this year’s event will be a virtual Out of the Darkness experience instead. The event will take place on the foundation’s Facebook page Saturday morning.

"So you can see the opening ceremonies and then share with us on Facebook or you can email us at and we'll share your experiences with others,” Chavez said.

Earlier this year, KOB 4 previously spoke with the parents of an 11-year-old boy from Hobbs who took his own life in July. The family of Landon Fuller said they believe the pandemic contributed to his suicidal thoughts. 

Now, Fuller's family is raising awareness about youth suicide and urging parents to have a conversation with their children about how they're feeling.

To donate to the New Mexico Out of the Darkness Experience, click here.

If you or a loved one is experiencing issues with mental health, call the National Suicide Prevention hotline for assistance at (800) 273-8255.

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