Attendees were given info on mental health resources at the first Wellness Wednesday movie screening.
Cathy Cook | El Defensor Chieftain


At the Loma Theater Wednesday night, teens and families gathered to enjoy free concessions and watch a documentary about suicide prevention and awareness for the first Wellness Wednesday event.

The rate of youth suicide in Socorro County is 21.7 per 100,000 people.

On a survey of 291 Socorro middle school students conducted by Students for Success, 23 middle school students reported multiple suicide attempts in 2020. Of 320 Socorro high school students surveyed, 18.8 percent said they seriously considered suicide and 17 students reported multiple suicide attempts in the past year.

Students Offering Solutions and SCOPE Health Council are using a youth suicide prevention grant to run the Wellness Wednesday movie series focused on suicide, youth suicide prevention, bullying awareness and mental health awareness. The free movie screenings will be held every other month.

For the first movie in the series, the organization screened “Suicide the Ripple Effect,” a 2018 documentary focused on the suicide prevention work done by Kevin Hines. After surviving and recovering from a suicide attempt, Hines put his energy into suicide prevention efforts.

Counselors were available at the screening for anyone who wanted to talk.

It was difficult for Students Offering Solutions to do their youth suicide prevention work last year, because of COVID-19, project director Kirstin Keller said.

Their efforts were primarily focused on social media as in-person events were not possible. The organization is using the movie series to get back into the community and reach kids in a more interactive way, said Keller.

The next Wellness Wednesday movie will be a free screening of the animated film “A Silent Voice” on August 25 at the Loma. The 2016 animated drama is based on a manga of the same name and has a plot centered on bullying.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm, you can reach out to the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line at 1-855-662-7474, the AGORA Crisis Center at 855-505-4505 or the National Suicide Prevention Line, 1-800- 273-8255.

Cathy Cook, El Defensor Chieftain