Last month residents of Los Alamos County learned that US News and World Report has again ranked Los Alamos County as the healthiest county in the country!  This is excited news indeed!

It is wonderful news to hear of an objective, statistical analysis comparing our community to others around the nation – and to confirm that we are outstanding in many areas.

I decided to take a deeper dive into the data provided by the study and found a few interesting points that may help us remember it is not time to rest on our laurels. While Los Alamos ranks number one of 500 communities, we are not at the top of each category.

Our score of 92.9 in the category of Population Health brings us in at number six, behind counties with overall rankings as high as 77!

To find the cause for this, one must read the subcategories within Population Health. These include Access to Care, Health Behaviors, Mental Health, and others.  As the promotion of social and emotional well-being of our community is at the core of our mission at Los Alamos Family Council, I just had to look at the scoring for Mental Health. 

This score is made up of three parts: Adults with Frequent Mental Distress, Deaths of Despair, and Medicare Beneficiaries with Depression.  I found that Los Alamos County, in comparison to the remaining top 10 communities, scored third for Adults with Frequent Mental Distress, fourth for Medicare Beneficiaries with Depression, and tenth for Deaths of Despair.

Even the community that scored 77th overall had a better score in Deaths of Despair than did we! What then, are deaths of despair?

Deaths of despair are deaths from drugs, alcohol, and suicide.  Deaths of despair are preventable deaths.

This means, that despite the wonderful health of our community, there is more we can do.

Since 1962 Los Alamos Family Council has been committed to the health and well-being of the members of our community.  We continue that mission today by providing individual, couples, family, and group therapy at our Counseling Center.  We also work towards that mission by working to build resilience in the youth of our community at the Youth Activity Centers.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with mental health or substance abuse problems – please seek help.  For those locally or nearby, Los Alamos Family Council has appointments available every weekday and some Saturdays. Statewide, the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line is available 24/7 at 855-NMCRISIS (662-7474). The Peer to Peer Warmline, 855-4NM-7100 (466-7100), is also available from 7:00 am to 11:30 pm daily, and also accepts text messages 6pm to 11pm.

Los Alamos is a wonderful community to live and work in – this should come as no surprise. We’re proud to be part of such a community and to help those in need of support.

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