Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Health. Discussion »
RED MESA, ARIZONA - The suicide rate among American Indian and Alaska Native teens is two and half to three times the national average. Suicides are the second leading causes of death of American Indian and Alaska Native youth between the ages of 10-25 year olds.
Two of the Red Mesa American Indian teen suicides were directly attributed to recent break ups of relationships before ending their own lives.
Native HOPE (Helping Our People Endure) is a prevention program that wants to reverse the high suicide trend among Native youth. Native HOPE was developed by Dr. Clayton Small, a clinical psychologist and internationally known trainer in the areas of suicide prevention and team trust building and youth leadership development.
Earlier this month, Dr. Small brought Native HOPE to Red Mesa High School, where he spent a one-day "Train the Trainers" teaching to adult volunteer facilitators and the next two days with 80 freshman students.
Students of Red Mesa High School during the Native HOPE Prevention Program
The time and place of the training was quite appropriate because during the past eighteen months, three young American Indian youth committed suicide in Red Mesa.
“There is an urgent need to provide Native youth with the skills, support and resources to help them recognize their strengths and talents,”
said Barbara Crowell Roy, development director of Eve's Fund, the non-profit that sponsored Native HOPE at Red Mesa High School.
“We want them to have hopes and dreams for a future. Suicide is preventable.”
Two of the Red Mesa American Indian teen suicides were directly attributed to recent break ups of relationships before ending their own lives. At any age relationship break ups are painful, but at a young age - 'young love' - break ups can seem as if there is no hope for the future to those who are left feeling jilted.
Native HOPE's approach to the serious problem of suicides among Native youth is to utilize culturally based peer-counseling methodologies that address suicide prevention and related risk factors such as substance abuse, violence, trauma/stress and depression. The curriculum is based on the theory that Native youth can break the "Code of Silence" and learn to help and support each other. The curriculum supports the full inclusion of Native culture, traditions, spirituality, ceremonies and humor.
One area Native HOPE examined was relationship break ups and how to work through them. As the result of the discussions on the topic, one group of students even made a sign that reads: "There is other fish in the sea" complete with looks of stress on the hand-drawn fish faces.
Regardless of whether or not the statement was intended to be grammatically incorrect, it still sends a strong message - and the right message: There are other options beyond break ups.
photo credit to Echohawk Lefthand, Indian Health Services
posted December 12, 2011 6:30 am est
Thank you for visiting. We are loading the new Native News Network website. Visitors always come first, so if you click on a link only to find the corresponding page is unavailable, please use this link to contact us here ».
Then, tell us how we can help you.
I will contact you personally.