Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Health. Discussion »
WASHINGTON Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. The Native News Network, the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health organization (WHO) are encouraging people to light a candle near a window at 8:00 pm to show support for suicide prevention, to remember a loved one lost through suicide, and for the survivors of suicide.
The theme of World Suicide Prevention Day this year is "Stigma: A Major Barrier to suicide Prevention." Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the world, especially among young people.
A large proportion of people who die by suicide suffer from mental illness. Recent estimates suggest that the disease burden caused by mental illnesses will account for 25 percent of the total disease burden in the world in the next two decades, making it the most important category of ill-health (more important than cancer or heart diseases.) Yet a significant number of those with mental illnesses who die by suicide do not contact health or social services near the time of their death.
Sadly, American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest rate of suicide when compared to other racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10 - 34 year olds.
To help our tribal communities and to address the crisis of suicide across our nation, earlier this year Representative Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona, introduced H.R. 1599 to require state or state sponsored organizations to make a reasonable effort to consult with American Indian tribes in the crafting of and implementation of their suicide intervention and prevention strategies. This is a bi-partisan bill and does not require any additional funding.
If your group is interested in endorsing, you simply need to send an email to Chris.Kaumo@mail.house.gov saying your organization endorses.
Rayna Palone Madero contributed to this article.
posted September 10, 2013 6:40 am edt