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5K walk/run to help fund crisis counseling for students
Event is named after Farmington middle school student who died by suicide in 2014
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.