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Health Indicator Report of Mental Health - Adult Suicidal Ideation

Suicidal ideation refers to thoughts of suicide or wanting to take one's own life, and is a risk factor for suicide or attempted suicide. Suicide rates in NM have been at least twice the national rate since at least 1995. Due to the disproportionate rate of suicide occurring in New Mexico for decades and the rising rate of suicide nationwide, understanding the prevalence of risk factors for suicide and the disparities in the New Mexico population is critical for prevention planning. Prior suicide attempts have been shown to be the strongest risk factor for suicide, and more than half of suicide attempts occur within one year of the onset of suicide ideation. Based on this knowledge of suicidal behavior, the World Health Organization and the United States Office of the Surgeon General have recommended routine surveillance for suicidal behavior such as attempts and ideation. In doing so, suicide prevention plans can be targeted specifically at communities with high risk and evaluated more thoroughly.

Adult Suicidal Ideation by Health Region, New Mexico, 2016

The prevalence of suicidal ideation did not vary meaningfully by health region of residence.
The prevalence of suicidal ideation did not vary meaningfully by health region of residence.

Data Source

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, together with New Mexico Department of Health, Injury and Behavioral Epidemiology Bureau.

Data Interpretation Issues

Data for this indicator report are from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an ongoing survey of adults regarding their health-related behaviors, health conditions, and preventive services. Data are collected in all 50 states, D.C., and U.S. territories. Responses have been weighted to reflect the New Mexico adult population by age, sex, ethnicity, geographic region, marital status, education level, home ownership and type of phone ownership. The survey is conducted using scientific telephone survey methods for landline and cellular phones (with cellular since 2011). The landline phone portion of the survey excludes adults living in group quarters such as college dormitories, nursing homes, military barracks, and prisons. The cellular phone portion of the survey includes adult students living in college dormitories but excludes other group quarters. Beginning with 2011, the BRFSS updated its surveillance methods by adding in calls to cell phones and changing its weighting methods. These changes improve BRFSS' ability to take into account the increasing proportion of U.S. adults using only cellular telephones as well as to adjust survey data to improve the representativeness of the estimates generated from the survey. Results have been adjusted for the probability of selection of the respondent, and have been weighted to the adult population by age, gender, phone type, detailed race/ethnicity, renter/owner, education, marital status, and geographic area. Lastly and importantly, these changes mean that the data from years prior to 2011 are not directly comparable to data from 2011 and beyond. Please see the [ BRFSS Method Change Factsheet]. The "missing" and "don't know" responses are removed before calculating a percentage.


Percentage of NM residents 18 years or older experiencing suicidal ideation, defined as answering "Yes" to the question, "In the past year, have you felt so low at times that you thought about committing suicide?"


Number of survey respondents who reported thinking about committing suicide within the year prior to survey.


Number of survey respondents excluding those with missing, "Don't know/Not sure," and "Refused" responses.

Other Objectives

Mental Health Report Indicator. Similar to HP2020 objective HHMI-1, "Reduce the Rate of Suicide"

How Are We Doing?

According to the 2011 BRFSS, the prevalence of thinking about suicide among adults was 5.7% in 2011.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Each year, approximately 58,000 adults in NM (3.8%) and 9,196,000 adults in the US (3.9%) seriously consider suicide (SAMHSA). New Mexico was one of the ten states with the lowest prevalence for serious suicide consideration among adults 2012-2013.

What Is Being Done?

The New Mexico Department of Health collects, analyzes, and disseminates suicide death data in order to identify populations with disproportionately high rates of suicide. These data can be used in conjunction with community partners to develop and implement prevention and intervention efforts to reduce suicide deaths. The NMDOH Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics collects information on all NM deaths and produces annual suicide statistics. The NM Violent Death Reporting System was implemented in 2005 to add to the understanding of how and why violent deaths occur. This active surveillance system collects comprehensive information about all violent deaths, including suicide, by linking data from death certificates, medical examiner records, and law enforcement reports into one complete record. In addition, the NM Child Fatality Review Program Suicide Panel completes an in-depth case review of suicides among children through age 17 years and makes recommendations about how to prevent future deaths.

Evidence-based Practices

For reviews of evidence-based practices, please see: 1. US Preventive Services Task Force: 2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Community Guide: 3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices:

Available Services

If you or someone you know is in a life-threatening position, please call 911 To talk to a counselor or ask questions about treatment 24/7, call the New Mexico Crisis Line: 1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474)[[br]] If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call one of the following hotlines to talk to someone: *New Mexico Crisis Line: 1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474) *National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ( 1-800-273-TALK (8255). En Espaol: 1-888-628-9495 *Teen to Teen Peer Counseling Hotline: 1-877-YOUTHLINE (1-877-968-8454) *Native Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-877-209-1266 *Veterans Peer Support Line: 1-877-Vet2Vet (1-800-877-838-2838) *University of New Mexico Agora Crisis Line ( 505-277-3013 or 1-866-HELP-1-NM *New Mexico State University Crisis Assistance Listening Line or The CALL: 1-575-646-CALL (2255) or 1-866-314-6841 *Graduate Student Hotline: 1-800-GRADHLP (1-800-472-3457) *Postpartum Depression Hotline: 1-800-PPD-MOMS (1-800-773-6667) *Trans Lifeline: 1/877-565-8860 If you would like to seek treatment, please contact: *OptumHealth NM ( for a listing of behavioral health treatment services statewide at 1-866-660-7185 *SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline: 1‑800-662-HELP (4357), also online at *The SKY Center ( 1-505-473-6191 *Search Providers in Bernalillo County: *New Mexico Social Service Resource Directory ( 1-800-432-2080 *SHARE New Mexico Resource Directory: *United Way Central New Mexico Referral Service ( 505-245-1735 Resources for veterans and their families: For contact information for your local New Mexico Core Service Agency, please visit:[1].pdf To join a support group organized by Optum Health, please register at: If you would like to be involved in community suicide prevention, please contact one of the following groups: *New Mexico Suicide Intervention Project ( 505-820-1066 *New Mexico Suicide Prevention Coalition ( 505-401-9382 *Southern New Mexico Suicide Prevention and Suicide Support Coalition:

Health Program Information

The BRFSS is an ongoing survey of adults regarding their health related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services. Data are collected in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. The survey is conducted using scientific telephone survey methods for landline and cellular phones (landline only from 1986 through 2010; landline and cellular since 2011). NM Department of Health, Mental Health Epidemiologist: [to be announced] NM Department of Health, Suicide Prevention Coordinator: Karen Dugas, MPH, 505-827-5146,
Page Content Updated On 03/19/2018, Published on 04/09/2018
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Content updated: Mon, 9 Apr 2018 08:50:32 MDT