TAOS COUNTY, NEW MEXICO

SPOTLIGHT on TAOS

So, how are we doing?

FOR OUR LIVES
HOW HEALTHY ARE WE?

Inside Spotlight

8 min.
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This page  provides Taos County residents with the information and resources to identify the biggest challenges facing residents, including child abuse, substance use disorders, mental health challenges, housing and food insecurity, and workforce issues.

We start with questions

The first step in the 100% Taos model is assessment. In order to improve access to ten vital services, we must first have a clear idea of how our residents are doing. On this page you will find data that reflect the social determinants of health and overall picture of the county residents’ health.

Spotlight on Taos – 100% Taos
DIGGING DEEPER

The following five slide shows provide an overview of health challenges enduried by Taos County residents. They include:

Slideshow 1: Emotional Challenges

    1. Youth with persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness
    2. Adult mental distress
    3. Suicide death

Slide show 2: Substance Use Disorders

    1. Alcohol-related chronic disease death
    2. Alcohol-related deaths
    3. Alcohol-related injury deaths
    4. Deaths due to drug overdose

Slideshow 3: Violence and adversity

    1. Child abuse victims
    2. Youth history of forced sex (sexual assault)
    3. ACEs and Rurality 

Slideshow 4: Economic Challenges 

    1. Teen birth rate for girls age 15-19 by gender
    2. Percentage of children under 18 living in poverty
    3. Percentage unemployed
    4. Unstable housing/homeless

Slideshow 5: Food Issues

    1. Food insecurity rate
    2. Obesity among adults
    3. Obesity among adolescents

SLIDESHOW 1: EMOTIONAL CHALLENGES

High rates of ACEs and childhood trauma, can lead to mental health challenges, many of which are untreated. You can explore the data on youth struggles with emotional challenges as well as adult mental distress. Any conversation about ACEs should explore the correlation between ACEs-related trauma and mental health challenges. Any coalitions working to prevent suicide would benefit greatly from engaging in comprehensive ACEs prevention strategies.1,2

Slideshow 2: SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS

Self-medication, through alcohol, prescription drugs or other substances, is a complex behavior that can include the process of numbing persistent feelings of trauma, often a result of ACEs. Substance use disorders also result in financial costs to local government as substance use disorder-related illness, injury and fatality comes with the price that can be calculated as: years of focused school life lost, years of productive wage-earning and tax-paying work life lost, and finally years of life lost. For those working in organizations dedicated to preventing and treating substance use disorders and their related family and community challenges, preventing ACEs will be invaluable in achieving results. The New Mexico Department of Health provides a substance use epidemiology profile.3

SLIDESHOW 3: VIOLENCE AND ADVERSITY

Child Abuse Victims

The county data illustrating various forms of abuse and neglect documents the tip of the iceberg. What you are seeing are those children whose cases were screened in by the child protective services abuse hotline and were then sent to the county office to be substantiated by an investigator. What these data don’t tell you is what happened to calls that were screened out, many representing families in crisis without resources to find help. Child maltreatment represents not only an extreme hardship for children and families, but an economic burden on taxpayers.5

SEXUAL ASSAULT

Sexual abuse is one of the ten ACEs. Data that captures the local incidence of sexual assault and forced sexual activity. The long-term impact of sexual violence on school and work performance, suicide ideation, suicide risk, mental health challenges, and substance use disorders has been well documented.6

ACES AND RURALITY

Most of our families live in or near rural areas. This article provides a starting point for dialogue about the unique qualities of family life and community support in rural New Mexico.7

SLIDESHOW 4: ECONOMIC ADVERSITY

TEEN PARENTS

Ideally, our infants are brought into the world by parents and extended families with the economic resources and emotional stability to raise children in safe households. Our adverse childhood experiences and child maltreatment rates tell us this is not always so.7

Work focused on teen pregnancy prevention and helping youth making healthy choices is part of a well-resourced community. County stakeholders also have the capacity to support teen parents and their children by ensuring access to ten vital services for surviving and thriving. 

CHILDREN LIVING IN POVERTY

Poverty dooms many to lives of adversity, trauma, and the type of hopelessness that leads people to substance use disorders. Decades of research focused on the social determinants of health illustrate how under-resourced communities can diminish a person’s capacity to thrive in the home, learn in school, become job ready and find steady employment. 

Children living in poverty is a local challenge that can result from a parent’s inability to find, secure and maintain jobs with living wages and benefits. Many factors impact finding employment, some that are not the responsibility of residents. During economic disruptions, employment may be near impossible to find locally, especially in rural areas.

HOUSING INSECURITY AND HOMELESSNESS

Homelessness and housing insecurity of one of our nation’s most unaddressed challenges.  Any conversation about creating a countywide model for housing security must also address substance misuse, untreated mental health challenges, PTSD with veterans, homeless youth enduring ACEs and escaping unsafe households, and an unstable economic environment and pandemic that causes jobs to come, go and completely disappear.8

UNEMPLOYMENT

Local workforce development strategies will benefit greatly by going upstream to address ACEs before they impact the capacity of the future workforce.9,10,11  In addition, problems associated with absenteeism and showing up unprepared to work are significant challenges when building a strong local workforce.

SLIDESHOW 5: FOOD ISSUES

FOOD INSECURITY AND HUNGER

Hunger should not exist in a country as wealthy as the United States, yet data reveal ongoing need, only exacerbated by the pandemic and workforce and economic disruptions. Lacking food is associated with one of the ten ACEs.

OBESITY AND ACCESS TO HEALTHY FOODS

Obesity has long been identified as a public health challenge, impacting overall health and leading to illness, injury and years of life lost. Advocates for health, nutrition, and healthy food access will benefit greatly from insights on ACEs, weight and physical and emotional health.12,13

TURNING DATA INTO SOLUTIONS

The data provided on this page provide all residents with an overview of key challenges that impact health, safety, education, job readiness and employment. For each problem exists a solution, provided by the work of 100% Taos.

References

  1. ACEs and the risk of depressive disorders in adulthood. Chapman, et all. 2004 https://aae.how/316
  2. The relationship between ACEs and mental health in adulthood. De Venter, et al. 2013. https://aae.how/317
  3. New Mexico Substance Use Epidemiology Profile https://aae.how/327
  4. The economic burden of child maltreatment in the US and implications for prevention. Fang, et al. 2011. https://aae.how/318
  5. Adverse childhood experiences and sexual victimization in adulthood. Katie A. Ports, Derek C. Ford, and Melissa T. Merrick. 2015 https://aae.how/328
  6. Rural-Urban Differences in Adverse Childhood Experiences Across a National Sample of Children. Elizabeth Crouch, Elizabeth Radcliff , Janice C Probst, Kevin J Bennett, and Selina Hunt McKinney. 2020. https://aae.how/329
  7. The Association Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adolescent Pregnancy, Long-Term Psychosocial Consequences, and Fetal Death. Susan D. Hillis, Robert F. Anda, Shanta R. Dube, Vincent J. Felitti, Polly A. Marchbanks and James S. Marks. 2004. https://aae.how/331
  8. Relationship Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Homelessness and the Impact of Axis I and II Disorders. Leslie E. Roos, MSc, Natalie Mota, MA, Tracie O. Afifi, PhD, Laurence Y. Katz, MD, FRCPC, Jino Distasio, PhD, and Jitender Sareen, MD, FRCPC. 2013. https://aae.how/330
  9. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. Felitti et al.1998. https://aae.how/314
  10. The Lifelong Effects of Early Childhood Adversity and Toxic Stress. Shonkoff, et al. 2012. https://aae.how/315
  11. Relationship between ACEs and unemployment among adults from five U.S. states. Liu, et al. 2012. https://aae.how/323
  12. The relationship between childhood adversity and food insecurity. Center for Hunger-free communities, Drexel University. 2015. https://aae.how/332
  13. The impact of adverse childhood experiences on obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors among adolescents. Reetta Isohookana, Mauri Marttunen, Helinä Hakko, Pirkko Riipinen, and Kaisa Riala. 2016. https://aae.how/333