The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold an oversight hearing next week on youth suicide.
According to the White House Native Youth Report, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for American Indians and Alaska Natives ages 15 through 24. Their rate of suicide is 2.5 times higher than the national average.
The problem is particularly acute for young Native males. According to the report, their rate of suicide was by far the highest among all Americans ages 15 to 24. The Indian Health Service, through the Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative and the Suicide Prevention Program, offers funding and support to help tribes address the issue. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also provides grants and programs in Indian Country.
But the White House report urges the federal government to do more to protect the youngest and most vulnerable Americans.
“Federal agencies have developed myriad workforce and training activities, tele-health resources, and programs to promote and support suicide prevention in tribal communities,” the report stated. “Despite important investments, key challenges remain, including ensuring a well-prepared behavioral health workforce and access to behavioral health services in Native communities.”
The hearing takes place at 2:15pm on June 24 in Room 628 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. A witness list hasn’t been posted online.
Oversight Hearing on “Demanding Results to End Native Youth Suicides” (June 24, 2015)
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