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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU to host Adolescent Mental Health Conference Saturday

The New Mexico State University School of Nursing and the National Alliance for Mental Illness on Campus chapter at NMSU will host the Adolescent Mental Health Conference, ?Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating for Action,? Saturday, May 16, at the Las Cruces Convention Center. The conference will open at 8:30 a.m. with check-in beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Conference attendance is free but advanced registration is required. Due to limited seating, attendance will be limited to the first 300 to register. To register, visit http://schoolofnursing.nmsu.edu/adolescent-mental-health-conference-2015/.

?It is the goal of the conference to increase awareness of the topic, including a panel of adolescents discussing mental health from their perspective, increase knowledge regarding adolescent mental health issues and illness through presentations by community mental health clinicians and experts in this area, increase awareness of community resources available and provide information regarding how to access those resources,? said Ruth Burkhart, faculty adviser and School of Nursing college assistant professor.

State Sen. Mary Kay Papen will deliver the keynote speech. Conference topics will include school violence, human trafficking, adolescent forum on mental health, treatment systems, juvenile justice system, treatment options and issues and primary, secondary and tertiary prevention community resources.

?Discussions with a broad swath of community members revealed many who are concerned, many who are seeking resources to prevent adolescent mental health problems, and many who are seeking resources to support an adolescent struggling in this area,? Burkhart said. ?Increasing knowledge regarding the nature of adolescent mental health issues, and increasing awareness of mental health resources available in this part of the state and region, can bring hope and inspiration to those in need of those resources. Empowerment and motivation for action can be the result, something which could potentially impact those in our community in a very positive way.?

According to a 2013 Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey conducted by the New Mexico Department of Health, Public Education Department, New Mexico Prevention Research Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one-third of the New Mexico middle school and high school students surveyed reported feeling sad or hopeless, about 20 percent reported non-suicidal self-harm behaviors and about 15 percent have considered suicide. The information for Dona Ana County adolescents is closely aligned with the state statistics.

Additionally, the 2013 survey showed high rates of substance abuse, particularly alcohol, which is the leading cause of death among adolescents. Recently, the national and New Mexico rates of current drinking, binge drinking and drinking and driving have been decreasing among adolescents.

According to the 2013 Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey, New Mexico high school students had the fourth-highest rate of any state participating in the survey for drinking alcohol before the age of 13.

?The target audience for the conference is the community, particularly those in the community who are seeking information about adolescent mental health and community resources for prevention and treatment of adolescent mental health problems,? Burkhart said. ?This includes adolescents, parents, grandparents and other family members of adolescents, mental health clinicians, teachers, community college and university faculty, clergy and law enforcement.?

Additional conference sponsors include NMSU?s School of Social Work, NMSU?s Department of Public Health Sciences, NMSU?s Southern Area Health Education Center, NAMI-Dona Ana County, Dona Ana County Health and Human Services, Mesilla Valley Hospital and the New Mexico Nurses Association.

For more information contact Burkhart at burkhart@nmsu.edu.