Fri Sep 25th, 2020
Robert L. Ortiz
The Southern Ute Drum
Tags: 2019 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, American Indian/Alaskan Native men, American Indian/Alaskan Native youth, Centers for Disease and Control, National Indian Council on Aging, National Indian Health Board, Native Connections Program, Precious Collins, Prevention Coalition, SAMHSA, SAMHSA Suicide Safe app, SAMHSA They Hear You app, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, Unity Wellness Warrior app
Warning Signs and What to Do
Real Talk. Talking about suicide might be taboo in some Native American cultures, but there is no denying that our Native American communities have been hit hard by suicide. For this reason, we must find out why our people, especially our youth, are dying by suicide.
Compared to 1999, studies completed in 2017 showed a 139% increase in suicide deaths among American Indian/Alaskan Native women and a 71% increase among American Indian/Alaskan Native men. In addition, for our Native American youth ages 10 to 24 years of age, suicide is the second leading cause of death. According to the National Indian Council on Aging, this is 2.5 times higher than the overall national average.
But there is good news!
According to the 2019 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, American Indian/Alaskan Native youth in our region (Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, and San Juan counties) show a decrease from 2017 data in both attempted suicides and suicidal thoughts. Studies have shown that talking to your youth about suicide and mental health decreases the chances of them attempting suicide or self-harm.
If would like to learn more about studies and statistics for Native American communities, please reach out to Precious Collins with the Southern Ute Native Connections Program to start the conversation about risk factors and protective factors that affect the incidence of suicide.
So, what are the warning signs we should be aware of?
We must keep an eye out for our family and friends during this time of the pandemic. This virus has had a very profound effect on all of us, including our youth. If you notice that you or someone in your family is struggling with isolation, anxiety, depression, stress, or suicidal thoughts or ideations, please reach out and talk to someone.
Here are some things that ReportingOnSuicide.org recommends looking and listening for with our family, friends, and community members, and how to respond if someone is having a crisis.
What to do if you see or hear some of these warning signs?
Call these resources:
Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.
Together we can be here for one another.
For more information about studies, reports, or resources please check out the National Indian Council on Aging, Centers for Disease and Control, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and National Indian Health Board.
Want to help and be a part of the change?
Looking for community members and youth to join the Prevention Coalition tasked to reduce youth substance usage, eliminate mental health stigma, and start the discussion around suicide and prevention.
Upcoming Prevention Coalition Meetings
We are going virtual! Join our meeting via Zoom. We will start regular meetings on Sept. 15 from 6 – 7 p.m. Meetings will be held virtually every Tuesday for 4 weeks just to start. For a copy of the link to the meeting, please feel free to call or email Precious. Or you can visit https://zoom.us/join and type in the meeting ID: 889 0328 1795. Contact Precious Collins, Native Connections Program Coordinator for more information 970-563-2487.
FREE online Suicide Prevention Training – Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) for Southern Ute Tribe Employees, and Southern Ute Tribal Members. Let’s all learn the warning signs and what to do if someone is experiencing a crisis. Please contact Precious Collins at 970-306-8131 or email email@example.com to sign up.
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