Updated: April 02, 2020 10:47 PM
Created: April 02, 2020 09:36 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Suicide prevention advocates want people to know that they are not along during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jessica van der Stad, the regional director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said, on average, one person dies by suicide every 16 hours in New Mexico.
“Last year, we had 536 deaths by suicide which unfortunately puts us at the highest state based on the rate per population,” she said. “It’s actually the 9th leading cause of death in New Mexico.”
According to van der Stad, it’s too early to tell what impact, if any, the coronavirus pandemic and the stay-at-home order will have on suicide rates.
“But what we do know is we want to highlight is that we are not helpless in light of current events and news,” she said. “A large amount of anxiety that people experience comes from a sense of what we think we should be able to control but can’t. And this is why so many people are experiencing anxiety and stress right now.”
For people who suffer from mental illness, van der Stad said it's important for them to stay connected with others.
“So there’s a common misconception that when we have to social distance, we have to cut off our relationships with people,” said van der Stad. “That’s not the case. Thanks to modern technology and other platforms we can still connect with individuals even while staying our distance and that what’s important to stress right now, is that if you are feeling lonely, connect with others. Whether it’s via a web platform, social media or zoom, there’re ways to still feel connected.”
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