Path to Wellness

A path to wellness offers information for people to help themselves or others who are experiencing mental health, suicide, or substance use concerns.

Mental Health Monday Path to Wellness Message

Self-Injury Awareness Month

Approximately 1% of the United States population uses physical self-injury as a way of dealing with overwhelming feelings or situations, often using it to speak when no words will come. Despite the fact that self-injury is far from rare, myths and misunderstanding surround this psychological ailment — mistaken ideas that often result in people that engage in self-injury being treated badly by police, doctors, therapists, and emergency room personnel.
 
How to Deal with Self Injury: We all need healthy ways to cope with the hard stuff. We’re here to help you find a healthy alternative to self-injury.
 
What is Self-Injury?: For some people, when depression and anxiety lead to a tornado of emotions, they turn to self-injury looking for a release. Self-injury is any forms of hurting oneself on purpose. Usually, when people self-injure, they do not do so as a suicide attempt. Rather, they self-injure as a way to release painful emotions.
 
Types of Self-Injury: Self-injury can manifest differently for everyone. And, the ways people may self-injury extend far beyond the usual references to cutting in media. Simply, self-injury is anything and everything someone can do to purposely hurt their body. Here are some of the most common types of self-injury:
  • Cutting
  • Scratching
  • Burning
  • Carving words or symbols into the skin
  • Hitting or punching oneself (including banging one’s head or other body parts against another surface)
  • Piercing the skin with sharp objects such as hairpins
  • Pulling out hair
  • Picking at existing wounds
 Symptoms of Self-Injury: Stigma creates shame and embarrassment, making it hard for people who self-injure to get help. So, look out for yourself and for your pals. If you suspect that someone in your life is self-injuring, here are some warning signs to keep top of mind:
  • Scars
  • Fresh cuts, burns, scratches, or bruises
  • Rubbing an area excessively to create a burn
  • Having sharp objects on hand
  • Wearing long sleeves or long pants, even in hot weather
  • Difficulties with interpersonal relationships
  • Persistent questions about personal identity
  • Behavioral and emotional instability, impulsiveness, or unpredictability
  • Saying that they feel helpless, hopeless, or worthless
How to Deal With Self-Injury: Emotions can be really painful sometimes. It’s totally normal to need ways to cope with and process the hard things in your life. If you are using self-injury to manage your emotions, we’re here for you. And, we want to help keep you safe. Here are some ways to push through, process, and cope with your emotions.
  • Reach out to someone to talk when you are dealing with painful emotions, We’re here to hear you and offer help. Call us to connect with a mental health professional and strategize healthy coping mechanisms to manage your emotions. 1-855-662-7474
  • Get creative. Studies show that diving into making art can help people process emotions. So, next time you’re feeling like self-injuring, grab your sharpie and doodle your worries away.
  • Find your zen. Keeping yourself safe from self-injuring is all about finding healthy alternatives to work through the hard stuff. Researchers found taking time to re-center through meditation to be a powerful way to find your cool and calm. Try using a mindfulness app to help you combat anxiety, sleep better, hone your focus, and more.
  • Talk to a pro. Self-injury is serious. And, while the intention behind self-injury usually is not death, it can still be dangerous—both physically and emotionally. Talking to someone who can help you find alternatives is incredibly important. You can find a provider in the community on the New Mexico Network of Care.
  • You are not in this alone. Tell someone you know what is going on. Ask them if they can help you connect with a professional.
Why Do People Self-Injure?: Let’s start with this: everyone needs a way to cope with their emotions. People who self-injure have turned to hurting themselves as their coping mechanism to manage their emotions. So, people might self-injure to:
  • Process their negative feelings
  • Distract themselves from their negative feelings
  • Feel something physical, particularly if they are feeling numb
  • Develop a sense of control over their lives
  • Punish themselves for things they think they’ve done wrong
  • Express emotions that they are otherwise embarrassed to show
Effects of Self-Injury: Self-injury can be seriously dangerous—physically, emotionally, socially, all of it.
Physical Effects of Self-Injury:
  • Permanent scars
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Infection
  • Emotional Effects of Self-Harm
  • Guilt or shame
  • A diminished sense of self, including feeling helpless or worthless
  • Addiction to the behavior
Social Effects of Self-Injury:
  • Avoiding friends and loved ones
  • Becoming ostracized from loved ones who may not understand
  • Interpersonal difficulty from lying to others about injuries
  • Each year, one in five females and one in seven males engage in self-harm behaviors
  • 90 percent of individuals who engage in self-harm begin during their teen or pre-adolescent years
  • Nearly 50 percent of individuals who engage in self-injury activities have been sexually abused
  • Females comprise 60 percent of individuals who engage in self-injurious behavior
  • Approximately 50 percent of those who engage in self harm behavior begin 14 years of age and continue into their 20s
  • Many individuals who engage in self-injury behavior report learning how to do so from their friends or pro self-injury websites or social media pages
  • Approximately two million cases are reported annually in the United States.
All of these self-injury statistics come from reliable sources however truly accurate rates and trends associated with self harm are difficult to come by because the majority of individuals who engage in self harm behavior conceal their activities. Their behaviors may never come to the attention of medical professionals or other social services.
 
Recovering from Self-Injury: A lot of people who self-injure do so because they are dealing with painful emotions. If this applies to you, hi—we believe in you and recognize your pain. Because painful emotions are at the root of self-injury, quite often recovering from self-injury involves addressing emotions. Breaking away from the cycle of self-injury can feel like a huge climb. It involves breaking a habit that has once brought comfort from pain. But, it is not impossible. Here are some steps to set you up for success:
  • Name your reason for hurting yourself and your reason for quitting. Ask yourself: “What do I feel before, during, and after self-injury? Which of those emotions do I actively seek out, and which are harmful?”
  • Identify other ways of achieving the same result. For example, if you self-injure for the physical sensation, seek other ways of releasing endorphins, like exercise. For real, try throwing a few punches at a kickboxing class or tapping it back in a spin class with the *perfect* playlist. If you self-injure to express your emotions, practice expressing them in words by writing them down. Grab a pen and your favorite notebook, or start typing away in your notes app.
  • Tackle the underlying emotions. Explore the feelings that lead you to want to hurt yourself. If it’s guilt, where is that guilt coming from? Maybe try finding a therapist—there are pros trained specifically to help with this.
  • Tell someone you trust. Let a friend, family member, or trusted adult know what you’re going through and that you need their support. Opening up to people can be easier said than done. Here’s a place to start: “I’m having a hard time processing some painful emotions and I could use your support right now.”
Getting healthy—both in your brain and in your body—takes hard work. You got this. And, we believe in you. If you need to talk, professional counselors are here to hear you and offer real help on the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call us at 1-855-662-7474.
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Eating disorders affect people of every age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation and background. Eating disorders are illnesses in which people experience severe disturbances in their eating behaviors, have extreme thoughts and emotions related to their eating behaviors and body image, and experience serious medical and mental health concerns as a result of obsessions with food, body weight, and shape. Eating disorders can affect a person’s physical and mental health; in some cases, they can be life-threatening. But eating disorders can be treated. Learning more about them can help you spot the warning signs and seek treatment early. Eating disorders are not a lifestyle choice. They are biologically-influenced medical illnesses. The exact cause of eating disorders is not fully understood, but research suggests a combination of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors can raise a person’s risk. Eating disorders affect people of all ages, racial/ethnic backgrounds, body weights, and genders. Although eating disorders often appear during the teen years or young adulthood, they may also develop during childhood or later in life (40 years and older). People with eating disorders may appear healthy, yet be extremely ill. If you think you, or someone you know, may have an eating disorder that interferes with the persons happiness or ability to function, then the person may want to consider seeking help.

Teen dating violence awareness month is part of a national effort to raise awareness and protect teens from violence. Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicate that 8.6% of high school students in NM who dated have experienced physical dating violence in the past 12 months. Learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms, understand the impacts of teen dating violence, encourage people to learn about healthy relationships and self empowerment, and advocate for people to seek support. Remember that young people are tremendously affected by their relationship experiences. The consequences of teen dating violence can affect ones emotional and mental development. Understand that many times young people and adults are unaware that teens experience dating violence, but unhealthy relationships can begin early and its effects can remain for a lifetime. Learn more about how to spot the red flags of abuse and the patterns of violence. Know there is a path to wellness, learn about healthy relationships and self-empowerment. Click here for more information and statistics.

Self-Care and Self-Love are important to incorporate into your everyday life in order to find and maintain mental wellness. Self-care means taking care of yourself physically and mentally. Self-love means showing kindness to yourself. If you are able to take care of yourself and love yourself, you will be able to be more present and find ways to engage in self-care. Read this article to learn more about incorporating self-care into your life as you guide yourself to a self-love journey. Then, when you are engaging in self-care and finding ways to support yourself, remember that one way of doing this, is to engage in self-compassion exercises that show you that you are being kind to yourself. Check out this article for 9 ways to practice self-love for your mental health.

Black History Month: “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” focusing on the African Diaspora and the spread of Black families across the country. For more information on what New Mexico is doing to support the African American community visit: New Mexico Office of African American Affairs. Please visit the NAMI website for more information on what happens at the intersection of mental health and one’s experience as a member of a Black or African American community.

National Freedom Day: Where we celebrate President Lincoln’s signing of a resolution that became the 13th Amendment, ending slavery. On this day the US Department of the State has committed to Deepening The Resolve to Fight Human Trafficking. And, as we proceed forward into Black History Month, we encourage you to reflect on heroes of past and present who have carried on the fight for freedom and equality. Such as Carter G. Woodson, a prominent historian and author, who created the celebration of Black History, that used to be a week to honor the vast contributions Black Americans made to American society, then nearly six decades later in 1976, President Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month.

Honoring Native Life: During these times we need to positively impact the health and well-being of the community. Click here to watch supportive videos and learn more about the diverse health promotion and prevention education programs, and specialized public health services, available through the Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board, Inc. (AAIHB).

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophies on human rights, equality, nonviolence, social change, unity, and interconnectedness allowed people to believe that we can all live a life without fear of oppression or restriction. On the third Monday of every January we celebrate this civil rights leader’s life and legacy. Click here to learn about the State of New Mexico’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Commissions purpose and vision.

Human Trafficking Awareness: If you suspect sex or labor trafficking is happening, call 911 and the NM Human Trafficking Hotline at 505-GET-FREE (505-438-3733). More information on human trafficking prevention efforts, outreach, and aftercare is available online at 505GetFree.org  You are not alone. Click here to watch a video on awareness efforts and click here to watch a video on outreach and aftercare efforts.

Path To Wellness Message: You are not alone. There is a path to wellness. If you need to talk, the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line is here to hear you. Click here to watch a public service announcement video.

REACH NM: The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) REACH NM provides text-based child abuse and neglect reporting, and direct engagement with CYFD workers. This new service allows you to text with a CYFD expert 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. REACH NM can assist you in finding resources and report concerns of child abuse and neglect. Click here for more information on the REACH NM service.

Healthy Holiday Tips: Some people may feel social distancing contributes to additional stressors during this unprecedented holiday season; while others may find current public health orders offer a relief from the normal hustle and bustle. Ensure that we are finding ways to take care of our mental health during this season. Click here for tips from Mental Health First Aid USA.

The NM 5-Actions Programis a new online digital health self-guided platform for New Mexicans (18 and older) to access help and find hope for a brighter future. Visit the website to learn more about how someone experiencing addictions with alcohol, drugs, substances, or behavioral matters (gambling, sex, food, technology) can begin their free online self-guided journey.

We will get through this together: New Mexicans helping each other – that’s what communities have done since the pandemic began. State agencies are collaborating on mental health initiatives and creating campaigns to urge self-care for all New Mexicans amid the public health crisis. Click here for the State of New Mexico press release on the Path To Wellness.

Welcome to Mental Health Monday Path to Wellness: Every Monday we will send a new NMConnect push notification connecting people to information and offering hope. Click here for information on Mental Health Mondays.

Staying Safe During the Holidays: This holiday season do what’s best for you and your loved ones. Click here for CDC recommendations regarding holiday celebrations.

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day: You can find connection, understanding, and hope through sharing experiences with other. Learn more at www.afsp.org.

Moments Together With Children: There are tons of simple everyday moments you share with a child. Click here for easy tips and free resources for early learning.

World Kindness Day: Kindness makes a difference in our lives. Click here for more information on ways to be kind to yourself.

If you would like to receive NMConnect push notifications, you can download the NMConnect app onto your smartphone.
Link to the Apple iOS download
Link to the Google Play Store download

Self Help Information

Mental Health

Dealing with the Effects of Trauma: A Self-Help Guide

Gives guidance on coping with the mental health effects of trauma and taking charge of one’s own recovery. Discusses the process of seeking help from a professional care provider, and lists daily and long-range activities to feel better.

Access Resource

Action Planning for Prevention and Recovery: A Self Help Guide

Guides people with mental illness or disability in developing an action plan for prevention and recovery. Addresses wellness, daily maintenance, triggers, early warning signs, signs that things are breaking down, and crisis intervention.

Access Resource

Building Self-Esteem: A Self-Help Guide

Gives self-help tips to raise self-esteem and prevent troubling thoughts and feelings on the path to recovery. Explains the link between self-esteem, depression, and other mental illnesses. Includes daily and long-range exercises to build self-esteem.

Access Resource

Recovering Your Mental Health: A Self-Help Guide

Suggests self-help strategies that people can use to manage their mental illness and recovery. Discusses signs of depression or other mental disorder, what to do about serious symptoms, patient rights, and questions to ask about medications.

Access Resource

Speaking Out for Yourself: A Self-Help Guide

Gives self-help tips on how to become a strong self-advocate, and emphasizes the importance of understanding patient rights. Provides assertiveness tips for dealing with daily issues, and describes how to create a plan for when others need to take over.

Access Resource

Making and Keeping Friends: A Self-Help Guide

Emphasizes the value of friends in the recovery process. Describes self-help activities for making new friends, keeping friendships strong, establishing and honoring boundaries, resolving problems, and building skills that enhance friendships.

Access Resource

Developing a Recovery and Wellness Lifestyle: A Self-Help Guide

Gives self-help tips to aid in taking action to create a recovery and wellness lifestyle. Topics covered include access to health care, lifestyle, home, employment, diet, exercise, light, and sleep. Lists simple things to do to improve quality of life.

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Suicide Prevention

My3 App
Lifeline for Attempt Survivors
Suicide Attempt Survivors
Loss Survivor Resources
Video Tips on How to Have a #RealConvo About Mental Health

Short and easy-to-understand videos with down-to-earth, practical tips on how you can have a #RealConvo about mental health with the people in your life.

 

Video Tips on How to Have a #RealConvo About Mental Health

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Suicide Anonymous Fellowship
Taking Care of Yourself After Your Treatment in the ER

Gives support for people recovering from a suicide attempt. Discusses how to move ahead after emergency department treatment for a suicide attempt and how to cope with thoughts of suicide. Lists information resources for suicide and mental illness.

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Taking Care of a Family Member after Treatment in the ER

Aids family members in coping with the aftermath of a relative’s suicide attempt. Describes the emergency department treatment process, lists questions to ask about follow-up treatment, and describes how to reduce risk and ensure safety at home.

Access Resource

Substance Use/Harm Reduction

NM 5-Actions Program

The NM 5-Actions Program is a self-guided, online learning program designed to help people address challenges with substance use (alcohol and drugs) and/or addictive behaviors (gambling, sex, food, technology). Access a new way to help yourself.

Flyer for Community Members
Flyer for Healthcare Workers
Flyer for Prescribers

Access Resource

Dose of Reality Website

A Dose of Reality is New Mexico’s substance use resource provider supported by the New Mexico Human Services Department, Behavioral Health Services Division, and the Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP).

Access Resource

Next Step Toward a Better Life

Describes the stages of recovery from alcohol and drug abuse and what to expect after leaving detoxification services. Offers guidance in adjusting to sobriety just after detox and through long-term recovery; discusses legal issues; and lists resources.

Access Resource

Services related to HIV, STDs, Viral Hepatitis, and Harm Reduction

Resources and information about services related to HIV, STDs, Viral Hepatitis, and Harm Reduction.

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Facts on Common Substance Use Disorders
Risks of Prescription Painkiller Abuse

Raising Awareness of the Risks of Prescription Painkiller Abuse

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Support Groups

The State of New Mexico’s Behavioral Health Services Division has resources for Self Help and Support Groups.

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Preparing for a Telehealth Appointment

Use this resource from SMI Adviser to help you prepare for video appointments. It contains simple tips about things you should consider.

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Training

If you’re looking for training to be more effective in helping others around you, consider taking a training through one of these available platforms:

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a course that helps people recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness, giving people the reassurance to find help for themselves or others. Classes are regularly offered throughout our community and can be found on the MHFA website.

Question Persuade Refer (QPR) is a one hour class that helps people recognize and respond to the signs and symptoms of suicide. Trainings available online. 

Telephone Crisis Intervention Training Videos highlight the comprehensive clinical training each of our clinical specialists receives. The training is also beneficial for mental health professionals, crisis line volunteers, and concerned citizens. Click here to watch the online modules.

Community, Mental Health Provider, and Peer Support Worker Trainings are available at multiple agencies throughout the state. Check out the following agencies for opportunities:
Serna Solutions LLC
LifeLink Training Institute

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New Mexico Crisis And Access Line

Call toll free anytime 24/7/365 1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474)

If you are having a life threatening emergency, call 911 immediately.