5K walk/run to help fund crisis counseling for students

Event is named after Farmington middle school student who died by suicide in 2014

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
Ryan and Amber Hale show their favorite photo of their sons Thad and Malakai together on March 25, 2015, at their home in Aztec.
  • Funding from the event will help Desert View add a full-time therapist dedicated to counseling area students.
  • About $10,000 was raised from last year's event.
  • Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for residents ages 15 to 44 years old.


FARMINGTON — The second annual Love for Thad 5k Walk/Run will raise money for a local behavior health care provider to hire a dedicated therapist to provide crisis counseling services for San Juan County students.

Saturday's event in Berg Park in Farmington is organized by Desert View Family Counseling. The event is named after 13-year-old Thaddeus J. Hale, a C.V. Koogler Middle School student who died by suicide on Nov. 10, 2014.

Last year's walk/run raised about $10,000, according to CEO Rick Quevedo. 

The funds helped pay for a crisis counseling team of therapists from Desert View to assist San Juan County students in coping with traumatic events.

Amber Hale, Thad's mother and a Desert View board member, said she thought the event went really well last year and was thankful for the support from the community. 

"I was so pleased," Amber said. "I know that Thad would have absolutely loved that so many people helped out."

More:Focus on bullying: Parents share details about life of Aztec teen who killed himself

There are currently nine full-time therapists working at Desert View, and Quevedo hopes to add another full-time position to handle the case load the agency is experiencing.

Thaddeus J. Hale, a C.V. Koogler Middle School student, died by suicide on Nov. 10, 2014.


The proposed new full-time position would allow the agency to have a dedicated person who can visit area schools instead of sending current therapists with full caseloads to conduct sessions, according to Quevedo.

"Transportation for the kids is a huge issue," Quevedo said. "It's crucial for us to have a setting in the schools to see them weekly."

The agency served 984 ongoing clients during its fiscal year from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016.

Desert View therapists currently have a six-week wait for new patients, but those in crisis or recent trauma can be prioritized, Quevedo said.

More:Panel: County lacks mental health professionals

As part of its crisis counseling services, the agency provided services to 101 students during the 2015-2016 school year and 37 adults Quevedo described as "actively suicidal."

Suicide was the eighth-leading cause of death among New Mexico residents in 2015, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. 

It is also the second-leading cause of death of residents ages 15 to 44 years old between 2010 and 2014, according to the state health department. 

New to the event this year is a candlelight vigil scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Little Pavilion in Berg Park.

Amber Hale shows posters, letters and cards on March 25, 2015, that were sent to the family after her son, Thaddeus, took his own life in November 2014.


People whose lives have been impacted by suicide are welcome to attend, Amber said.

Participants for the 5K can pick up their pre-registration packets and T-shirts at that time. Registration opens at 7 a.m. Saturday before the race at 8 a.m.

Activities at the event include a balloon release following the race, face painting, a silent auction, a DJ and local organizations including the San Juan United Way providing information on services in the community.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

If you go

What: Love for Thad 5K Walk/Run

When: 8 a.m. Saturday. Same-day registration starts at 7 a.m.

Where: Little Pavilion at Berg Park, 400 Scott Ave. in Farmington

Cost: $25 for 5K and $10 for 1-mile Kids Fun Run. 

More info: Call Desert View Family Counseling at 505-326-7878 or visit https://www.facebook.com/loveforthadwalk/ or bit.ly/loveforthad2017

If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide:

• Do not leave the person alone.

• Remove any weapons or items that could be used in a suicide attempt.

• Call the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line at 1-855-NMCRISIS (662-7474) or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (273-8255).

• Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.