Health | Opinion

Editorial: Response plan needs to address Indian youth suicide

"Montanans may never know exactly what caused the spike in suicides among the youth of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation - but we have a good idea of how to stop it.

The first step is to urge the U.S. Public Health Service to return to the reservation and provide much-needed counseling and mental health care. The next step is to see to it that these services are available to Fort Peck families on a long-term basis as part of a comprehensive safety net that catches these kids well before they fall through the cracks.

The heartbreaking spate of suicides by Native American children in Montana reached horrendous levels last school year, when five Poplar Middle School children killed themselves and 20 more students attempted suicide on the Fort Peck reservation.

Assiniboine and Sioux leaders recognized the situation for what it is - a crisis - and in response to their crisis declaration, federal emergency teams came to the reservation to shore up mental health services, study the situation and make some recommendations.

And for 90 days, there were no suicides."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Response plan needed on suicide epidemic (The Missoulian 3/29)

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Fort Peck Tribes still struggling with high rate of youth suicide (3/21)