In 2016, Taos experienced 4 teen suicides in a period of 5 months (in addition to the 14 adult ones that year.) The statistics from the 2016 Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey (based on 2015 data) which is produced every 2 years, shows unacceptable numbers of our children are functioning from places of desperation when it comes to suicidal thoughts or attempts (14% planned it, 11% attempted, 17% seriously considered it), self-harm (21% self-harm), drug and alcohol use (33% to 36% are drinking or using marijuana.) Taos County also sports the great statistic of having 33% of our children under the age of 18 living at or below the poverty level. This means they have limited resources, in addition to excessive access to mood altering options … this makes for a very bad combination & no place to go in town that is safe and teen focused.
After that horrid summer of 2016 we started the “Teen Talk Meetings” on Wednesday evenings. It meets weekly under the guidance of a licensed clinical social worker(LCSW) and a minister. Participation in this group is open to all teens in the area. It is a support group rather than a spiritual program. We usually have between 6 & 11 join us each week, and over 33 teens have come in and out of this group in the 21 months it has been active.
- Format includes variations of: guided meditations, art therapy, “happy/crappy”, appreciations, “emotional charades”, music as a topic, tools for choosing “no self harm”
- Typically, we’ll have snacks during the meeting …. When parents are not available for rides to or from the meeting, we are able to offer transportation. We sometimes go out for a meal or snack together after …
For the summer, we meet on Thursday nights at St. James in the Santiago Room from 7:15 to 8:30. When the Town of Taos ends “movies in the park” we will move back to Wednesday nights.
For more information, contact Jill Cline @ firstname.lastname@example.org.