Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 11-11-2020


This study explores the underrepresented perspective of suicide preventionists in the state of New Mexico, their experiences and insights surrounding the prevention of youth suicide. I present these in narrative form; the primary method of investigation was purposeful, individual interviews with an initial and follow-up interviews. Preventionists in New Mexico face the enormous task of reducing historically high youth suicide rates when compared with the rest of the nation; additionally, New Mexico is a rural state that exhibits a complex mix of risk and resiliency factors. I invited participants to discuss their experiences, share barriers to their work, offer success stories, and speculate on the future of youth suicide prevention in New Mexico. Through this study I opened a candid dialogue with youth suicide preventionists concerning their vital work; the findings lend to more effective protocols for youth suicide prevention. Participant experiences and wisdom serve as an invaluable resource, from which other preventionists can benefit and learn. Additionally, those who make policy making and funding decisions can benefit from knowing the barriers these preventionists face and can directly address removal of those obstacles. Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic struck during this study, so impacts were explored.


education, mental health, southwest, rural, COVID-19, youth

Document Type




Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Level of Degree


Department Name

Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy

First Committee Member (Chair)

Alicia F. Chávez

Second Committee Member

Thomas Chávez

Third Committee Member

Jennifer Gomez-Chávez

Fourth Committee Member

Eliseo (Cheo) Torres