SA groups push to break stigma of suicide among Black, Hispanic communities during Suicide Prevention Month

September is Suicide Prevention Month

SAN ANTONIO – September is Suicide Prevention Month. As this month ends, suicide prevention advocates across San Antonio are talking about mental health, specifically for veterans and racial minorities.

Larissa Martinez is the executive director of Circle of Arms, a group dedicated to mental health awareness, and she said this month she’s making conversations about mental health a priority.

“We can only break the stigma and bring an awareness as much as we can keep talking,” Martinez said.

Martinez told KSAT she tries to keep the conversation going all year long, but this month she told KSAT she prioritized veterans and people of color because “there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.”

Data from the CDC released earlier this year shows among races, Black and Hispanic Americans had the highest year-over-year percent increases from 2018 to 2021 in rates of suicide. That’s something Martinez says she’s working to change.

“It’s so important to not only just spread awareness, but to know the resources that are out there,” Martinez said.

Greg Watson, a LivingWorks ASIST trainer who teaches suicide awareness and prevention, said his job is to help people find the resources they need.

“It’s a matter of taking advantage of being in 2023,” Watson said. “There are so many different demographics that have their own struggles and have their own needs. And there are so many organizations rising up to meet those needs.”

Watson said training courses, counseling sessions and the 9-8-8 hotline are some of those resources. He said it all comes down to having direct and clear conversations about mental health.

About the Authors:

Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.