September 18, 2018

Indianz: Empower tribal communities to address the suicide crisis

Native American reservations are experiencing an epidemic of suicide that is claiming the lives of countless young people. The lingering trauma of lost brothers, sisters, neighbors, and friends echoes through families and communities across Indian Country for years, even generations.  

As members of Congress, we have the opportunity—and the responsibility—to mobilize federal resources and work with tribal communities on culturally relevant solutions that will save lives. We have introduced the Native American Suicide Prevention Act to ensure collaboration among states and federally recognized tribes, tribal entities, and urban Indian organizations to design and implement statewide suicide intervention and prevention strategies that work for their communities.

With almost 45,000 suicides in the United States during 2016 alone, and rapidly increasing suicide rates across all demographic groups, it is now more important than ever to take action. It is even more pressing in Indian Country, where suicide rates have reached a crisis level. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Native people ages 10–34. And for AI/AN people ages 15–34, the suicide rate is 1.5 times higher than the national average. On some reservations, the youth suicide rate is 10 times the national average. 

Read the full op-ed on the Indianz website here. 

By:  Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Raul M. Grijalva
Source: Indianz