In 2016, Taos County witnessed 16 suicides, including two teenagers. Yet little exists in Taos in the way of suicide prevention.
NVW is working to fill that gap.
The entire clinical staff of Nonviolence Works has been trained in C-SSRS — Columbia Suicide Scale — C-SSRS uses a series of simple questions to assess the level of suicidal intent. The scale can identify those in need of intervention and those most severely at risk, to reduce excessive hospitalization and further trauma.
On March 17 our staff will be trained in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Suicide Prevention (CBT-SP). According to a study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, CBT-SP is one of the few treatments that has been shown to reduce suicidal behavior.
Leading the Charge
NVW is in the process of becoming a Zero Suicide agency. Zero Suicide is a commitment to suicide prevention in health and behavioral health care systems that utilizes a specific set of tools and strategies. It is both a concept and a practice.
NVW’s suicide prevention effort focuses on Taos High School students. The effort is led by two NVW counselors — Marsha Carlson and Elizabeth (Lisa) Stern, with the help of a new NVW intern, Amani Carroccio from New Mexico Highlands University. When a concern comes in from a teacher, principal, or social worker, that a child is in crisis, one of the counselors rushes to offer help. (Taos High School has only one social worker for special ed students due to budget cuts.)
Funding for Crisis Response
Marsha, Lisa and Amani currently treat more than 60 students at Taos High. Many have had suicidal ideation or intent.
We bill Medicaid and private insurance for our services, but crisis response or intervention does not meet Medicaid’s strict requirements. Yet our counselors cannot turn away from a child in crisis when they know they have the skills to help.
How You Can Help
Suicide Prevention is one NVW program that cries out for funding by individual donors. If you would like to Help Us Help Taos prevent suicide, please email our CEO Simon Torrez or call him at 575-578-4297 to discuss funding for this critical program.