El Paso

Counselor uses personal experience to help others

Suicide prevention month

EL PASO, Texas - Emergence Health Network provides a number of services for mental health, developmental disability, and related conditions in El Paso County.

Every year, more than 41,000 people die by suicide and about 90 percent are also believed to have had a mental health disorder. 

Experts want the community to know the warning signs and identify when help is needed.

Warnings signs include:

-Inability to cope with daily tasks
-Rapid mood swings
-Increased agitation
-Displays of abusive behavior
-Isolation

Emergence's peer counseling services allow patients to see more counselors in between their scheduled visits with doctors or psychiatrists.

Counselor Abraham Samaniego is currently seeing about 45 patients up to twice a week. He can relate to some of his patients because he once attempted suicide.

"I remember thinking I just want to talk to someone but not just anyone, someone who is going through what i'm going through," Samaniego said.

As early as middle school, Samaniego said he fely alone and isolated. In high school, he was bullied and didn't know how to handle his emotions.

"I learned to hate myself," Samaniego said.

He said he didn't know what mental health illness was until he found himself in a psychiatric center, in is mid 20's, after tried to kill himself by asphyxiation.

"That's when they explained to what I had and it put a name to a problem. It helped me understand what i was going through, I suffered through depression," Samaniego said.

He was then put on medication.

"When you don't have medication, when you don't have therapy, you go to what is more available to you like drugs."

Now, Samaniego uses his experiences to relate to his patients.

"It makes me feel complete about myself, that I acutally discovered a purpose," he said.

There is an app that can be downloaded for anyone in need of services.

The Mental Health & U App allows someone to punch in their zip code and find all the resources in the community.

Click here to learn more about it.


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