Suicide in New Mexico
Did you know that suicide is the 8th leading cause of death among New Mexico residents overall and the second leading cause of death among New Mexico residents, ages 10-49 years?
New Mexico actually has the fourth highest suicide rate in the US which is down from third highest reported back in 2014. New Mexico suicide rates increased by 32% from 2005-2015 and almost 20% from 2013-2015. Just last year, New Mexico Native American and Anglo residents reported to have the highest rates of suicide out of any group in the US, which reported to be 32.5 and 25.2 deaths per 100,000 persons, respectively. For Anglo residents, the suicide rate was highest among those 35 years and older. For American Indians, the rate was highest among those younger than 35 years.
Suicide and Native Americans in New Mexico
There are 23 Indian tribes in New Mexico with more than 10% of the total population being Native American. In some counties, Native Americans compose more than 90% of the regional population. According to a number of sources, the suicide rate amongst this group is twice the national average of US non-Native American citizens.
Mental health disorders have long been considered an “UNMENTIONABLE TOPIC” throughout many of the Native American populations in New Mexico, and culturally responsive efforts must be undertaken to ensure our community is prepared to address, through prevention and early identification, the challenges faced by our high needs Native American citizens.
Recent data reported From the Navajo Epidemiology Center show the following facts for Navajo tribal members (representing the largest tribe in New Mexico)…
- Suicide contributes to 3% of total deaths for Navajo citizens
- Suicide is the 7th leading cause of death for Navajo persons (both genders) at 17.48 per 100,000.
- Suicide is the 5th leading cause of death for Navajo males at 31.41 per 100,000.
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for age group 10-19 at 26.40 per 100,000, accounting for 28% of all deaths for this age group.
- Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for age group 20-29 at 23.37 per 100,000, accounting for almost 9% of all deaths for this age group.
- Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for age group 30-39 at 28.58 per 100,000, accounting for 8% of all deaths for this age group.
– Navajo Epidemiology Center. “Navajo Epidemiology Center Update: Close-up Suicide.” Vol 1. May 2016.
Three years ago, the “Native American Ripple Effect of Teen Suicide” survey was conducted in Shiprock, New Mexico. The survey was distributed at BIE high schools and was completed by approximately 250 teens. The following findings were reported:
“Youth/Teenage suicide has AFFECTED MY COMMUNITY.” 92% Strongly Agreed
“Teen suicide has been going on for generations” 98% Strongly Agreed
“Are you WILLING TO TALK about death or teen related suicides, especially to outsiders?” 78% Strongly Disagreed
“Do you KNOW A VICTIM of domestic violence or sexual abuse?” 95% Strongly Agreed
Many young people believe suicide is a “part of life,” an unavoidable circumstance. The survey also shows that nearly all youth assessed do not know what to do if they or a friend show warning signs of being suicidal.
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