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.”