Report: New Mexico ranked 47th for youth mental health
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As students in New Mexico settle back into class, mental wellness is a focal point.
Numbers from Mental Health America, a community-based nonprofit, rank New Mexico 47th overall in youth mental health. The data also shows that 18.6% of New Mexico youth experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
“In New Mexico, there is a lot of addiction, which comes with trauma, right? Sometimes that trauma is the main kind of underlying cause and then addiction is sort of like a symptom of that,” said Kelcie Jimenez, a local licensed counselor.
Trauma is one possible reason. Another may be health care access.
30 of New Mexico’s 33 counties are dealing with a health care professional shortage. Jimenez says this comes as younger generations are starting to embrace their mental health and seek help for it, driving up demand.
“The stigma is going away a little bit, but like, it’s okay to ask for help. And people are wanting help. And they’re kind of wanting to break those generational patterns,” Jimenez said.
You often hear social media influencers discuss self-care and preach about it. Jimenez says you can break self-care into seven different types:
“Finding what works for you is different for everyone. There’s no, ‘this is how it has to be.’ I think as long as we’re just making it a consistent thing to do it is what’s important,” Jimenez said.
No matter where you are in your mental health journey, Jimenez always encourages giving yourself grace.
“It’s all about taking it slow, step by step, being really compassionate to ourselves and evaluating why we are wanting to make certain changes,” she said.