News from the Superintendent

Posted: February 21, 2020

Suicide Prevention

In her weekly message, Supt. Reedy shares information and resources for families in crisis.

New Mexico Crisis and Access Line Logo: 1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474)

New Mexico Crisis and Access Line Logo: 1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474)

Earlier this week, as part of a community push to prevent teen suicide, I took part in a news conference alongside representatives from the city, county, and UNM to provide information and resources for families in crisis. This includes members of our APS family.

I want to share with you what we discussed at the news conference, and what I shared with the Board of Education later that night. As an educator – and all of you who work on behalf of students in Albuquerque Public Schools are educators – you may be called upon to help a student in crisis if you haven’t already. My heart breaks when I think of all of you who have struggled through the aftermath of teen suicide.

As a school district, as a part of this community, we need to do whatever we can to keep this from happening again.

APS has lost too many students this school year, and over the years, to teen suicide. Of course, one student is too many. I want to extend my condolences to the families and friends, the teachers and staff, the classmates and neighbors, who have been directly touched by these events. Our primary focus has been and will continue to be assisting all who have been affected in any way we can during these difficult times.

When a young person takes their life, it is not merely a family issue or a school issue – it is a community issue. And when we say community, we mean it in the broadest sense of the word. We mean Albuquerque Public Schools, the city of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, and the state of New Mexico. We are one people and one community.

I would like to thank all of those people from our community who have been right here with us during these tragedies – the APS crisis response team, staff members at our school-based health centers, the Southwest Family Guidance Center, UNM mental and behavioral health specialists, and our entire district staff. The care and support 

provided to our children have been unmatched, and we are very grateful to all who have put in countless hours.

APS has a solid system in place to support our students and staff as they navigate through a very tragic moment in their lives:

  • Our crisis response team deploys to the impacted schools and is available as much as needed.
  • If the school has a school-based health center, staff from the center assists with counseling, providing our students with a sense of security that is so important to carry them through a tragedy. 
  • Recently, APS developed a partnership with the UNM Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences to assist in providing mental health support for students and staff.
  • When appropriate, schools hold family meetings to help understand the impact the tragedy might have on students and how to best support them.

If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, please reach out for help. During the school day, students and families can contact school counselors.

An excellent resource is the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line. Call any time – day or night – if you, a loved one or one of your students is experiencing any emotional crisis, mental health or substance use concern.

The number is 1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474).

Another great resource for employees is the Employee Assistance Program, a free, confidential short-term program that helps employees work through various life challenges. You can reach them at 884-9738.

It is my sincere hope that APS, the city, county, UNM, the mental health community, and other partners continue to work together to create a larger “community of one” that can identify those who are at risk and prevent the senseless loss of life. It doesn’t matter what school they may attend – they are all our students.