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New Mexico in Depth’s analysis suggests something else, too: both databases underestimate the true number of Native lives lost to suicide.
But without better data collection, no one can know the true extent of the problem – and young Native people across New Mexico will continue to die.
So Mangas went to the forest and searched until midnight: “I looked everywhere, every tree, and I found her. Otherwise, she would have been gone forever.” Mangas told the senators a boost in mental health services was needed.
So was streamlined Medicaid approval for people who are referred to residential treatment centers.
Employed part-time by Systems of Care – just a stone’s throw from the squat Indian Health Services hospital that serves the reservation—he works with young people and their parents, talking about coping skills, drugs and alcohol, and suicide prevention.
Meanwhile, the state’s Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI) has records of only 161 investigated deaths of Native American youth between 20.
Today is such a time, some say, as Native American youth in New Mexico are dying by suicide at an alarming rate. As a Ruidoso High School sophomore in 2010, he spoke against the silence and the stigma that surrounds youth suicide.
In the two years previous, groups of teens on the Navajo Nation and the Mescalero Apache reservation had died by suicide, news that made headlines.
He testified about the night he checked his phone at a youth meeting of the Mescalero Reformed Church: “I got a message I never thought I would get, a text message from my friend saying she loved me and that I will always have a place in her heart,” he said.
He called the police, he said, but no one responded.