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Football Player's Suicide Signals Need for Mental Health Services

 Albuquerque, Nov. 16--The recent suicide of a UNM football player continues to show the need for State-funded mental health services for student athletes in New Mexico. On November 5, 21 year-old Nahje Flowers was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his off-campus residence, according the Albuquerque Police.

The suicide again sheds light on the important issue of student athletes and mental health, but this year Gov. Lujan Grisham decided to slash funding specifically targeted for this very problem.

Last March Sen. Mark Moores had earmarked $357,000 to provide nutrition and behavior health services for student athletes at UNM. It was part of vast supplemental appropriations package for the University that passed both Houses unanimously. But Lujan Grisham vetoed the money for mental health.

"We must serve these kids and not let politics get in the way of helping these athletes who might need these kind of services," said Sen. Moores. "Mental health is such an important issue, and what the Governor did deeply saddens me."

Moores points out the need for this funding because academic and athletic pressures can impact students in different ways.

"Young men and women who are at the top of their physical ability think they are invincible. We need to nourish their minds as well as their bodies. By having mental health services on the support team, like we do with trainers and coaches, it's another way an athlete can process and deal with stressful situations."

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