Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands joins the community in sponsoring a Blooming for Hope Suicide Awareness and Prevention day March 24 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The free public event will be in the Highlands John Wilson Complex at 1241 9th St.
Corilia Ortega, interim director for Highlands University’s HU-CARES, said there was an outpouring of community partners who worked with HU-CARES to sponsor the suicide awareness and prevention day.
“The Robertson High School Dream Makers student group sprouted more than 200 flower bulbs in flower pots for the event, and the community is welcome to decorate the pots with encouraging words or quotes for them to take home,” Ortega said. “The activity of planting flowers represents life, hope and growth, words that are often not associated with suicide.”
Ortega said there are many misconceptions, myths and inaccurate information about suicide that are widely accepted.
“Las Vegas may be small but we have a committed core of health care professionals providing counseling and family services related to suicide. We will have information booths from various local providers who have important resources to share at Blooming for Life,” Ortega said.
From 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on March 24, community members are welcome to participate in an ongoing suicide awareness and prevention walk around the Wilson Complex gym balcony. The co-sponsors for the walk are El Centro Family Health of Las Vegas, which will host a summit for suicide prevention in April in Albuquerque, the New Mexico Department of Health, and Robertson High School.
“Walking is an active and safe space for the community to be together to demonstrate solidarity for those families who have lost someone to suicide,” Ortega said.
Ortega said statistics show the high need for suicide prevention programming.
“According to the New Mexico Department of Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death in the state for 10-49-year-olds. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control data show suicide as the second leading cause of death for 15-24-year-olds,” Ortega said.
Ortega said other youth allies who will volunteer to help with Blooming for Hope include Semillas de Salud from West Las Vegas High School and the Highlands University Peer Mentors, among others.
“It’s impressive that our local youth are so engaged in creating thoughtful solutions to a problem that affects their peers,” Ortega said.
HU-CARES, which stands for Center for Advocacy, Resources, Education and Support, provides free crisis, advocacy, education, and referral services for the university’s students.
“Often college students don’t have family members nearby and can feel alone. At HU-CARES we’re here to listen and connect them with local resources,” Ortega said.
Some resources related to suicide include:
-El Centro Family Health in Las Vegas – Call 505-425-6788 to schedule an appointment with a counselor.
-New Mexico Crisis and Access Line – Call the 24/7 phone line at 1-855-662-7474.
-National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Call the 24/7 phone line at 1-800-273-8255, or go online to live chat with a counselor at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help/chat