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Home » Uncategorized » Virtual workshop focuses on link between suicide and substance misuse

Virtual workshop focuses on link between suicide and substance misuse


Friday, September 10, 2021; Las Cruces, NM: What can be done about the increase in suicides in southwest New Mexico is the question an upcoming virtual workshop hopes to answer on Thursday, Sept. 16 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The workshop is free, and the public is invited to attend online.

A Public Health Approach to the Prevention of Suicide and Substance Misuse: Data and Resources” brings together the latest statistics on suicide and alcohol and substance misuse from eight southern counties including Catron, Doña Ana, Hidalgo, Grant, Luna, Otero, Sierra, and Socorro.

The virtual workshop includes presentations from the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Epidemiology and Response and Public Health Divisions and is hosted by the Center for Health Innovation’s (CHI) Prevention and Community Collaboration Department.

“CHI is concerned about increased behavioral health needs of residents and understands the need for data driven programing to address these needs. COVID continues to put additional stress on our people and this region includes counties with the highest suicide rates in state,” said Alyssa Myrick, director of CHI’s Prevention and Community Collaboration Department which coordinates four substance misuse prevention programs and two county health councils in the region to be discussed.

Pre-COVID pandemic, New Mexico had a suicide rate 1.5 times higher than the national average. The summer of 2020 saw more suicides monthly than the previous year, but the number of deaths and causes are still being compiled and compared to national statistics.

“Suicide is a big issue in New Mexico communities, and substance misuse often leads to a decrease in overall wellness, including behavioral health. NMDOH staff will be presenting suicide and substance statistics,” Myrick said.

NMDOH Drug Overdose Epidemiologist Megan Deissinger will discuss substance misuse including prescription drugs, opioids, benzodiazepines, and the illicit drugs like fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine. NMDOH Alcohol Epidemiologist Annaliese Mayette will discuss the impact alcohol and its misuse has on state residents.

Included in the workshop will be currently available behavioral health resources and services from NM DOH Suicide Prevention Coordinator Jacalyn Dougherty.

“This is our prevention collaboratives second big initiative to bring data and prevention issues to this region. With the new world of virtual meetings, it’s easier to collaborate and serve the community regardless of geographic barriers. We want to address these public health issues in a dynamic way,” said Myrick, “and when we understand regional data we can do so.”

To attend the virtual workshop via Zoom on Thursday Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. use this link:

For more information contact Myrick at (575) 597-0024 or or visit:

Sponsored by the Center for Health Innovation’s Prevention and Community Collaboration Department and hosted by the Unified Prevention Coalition for Doña Ana County.