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City of Albuquerque Provides Community Mental Health Intervention Trainings

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Suicide is the second leading cause of death for New Mexicans ages 10-34 years and the numbers are rising, especially among teenagers, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. The City of Albuquerque is partnering with the state to provide mental health intervention training to the public.

There are two trainings. One, called “QPR: Question, Persuade, and Refer”, is specific to suicide prevention. 

Victoria Waugh-Reed, the Statewide Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator with the Department of Health, says the training is action-oriented and appropriate for anyone in the community, including youth and adults. “Once they learn what to look for [and] what to listen for,” Waugh-Reed said, “we train them on literally what to say to ask that person if they might be considering suicide.”

Shayna Klassen, Behavioral Health Consultant with the Department of Health, says the steps folks learn in QPR have been shown to save lives. “Asking the question, persuading that person to live, and then referring them to get help reduces suicide rates,” Klassen said.

The other curriculum, Youth Mental Health First Aid, teaches people how to identify common mental health concerns, assess a young person in crisis, and intervene. 

Staff from the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line and Peer to Peer Warmline will facilitate the sessions. 

The trainings are free and happen regularly in different parts of town. 

Albuquerque Public Schools admin say the district is encouraging its staff to attend

More on the QPR suicide prevention training, including training dates and registration, can be found here. Learning outcomes, session dates, and registration information for the Youth Mental Health First Aid training can be found here

The state Department of health also offers training and technical assistance in mental health and suicide prevention to any school or youth-serving organization in the state. Contact the Office of School and Adolescent Health for more information. 

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line at 1-855-NM-CRISIS or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

Nash Jones (they/them) is a general assignment reporter in the KUNM newsroom and the local host of NPR's All Things Considered (weekdays on KUNM, 5-7 p.m. MT). You can reach them at nashjones@kunm.org or on Twitter @nashjonesradio.