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Stephanie Woodard: Suicide an epidemic among Indian youth





"A youth-suicide epidemic is sweeping Indian country, with Native American teens and young adults killing themselves at more than triple the rate of other young Americans, according to federal government figures.

In pockets of the United States, suicide among Native American youth is 9 to 19 times as frequent as among other youths, and rising. From Arizona to Alaska, tribes are declaring states of emergency and setting up crisis-intervention teams.

“It feels like wartime,” said Diane Garreau, a child-welfare official on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, in South Dakota. “I’ll see one of our youngsters one day, then find out a couple of days later she’s gone. Our children are self-destructing.”

So dire is the alarm that of 23 grants the U.S. federal government awarded nationally to prevent youth suicides in September, 10 went to Native American tribes or organizations, with most of them receiving nearly $500,000 per year for three years."

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Stephanie Woodard: Suicide is epidemic for American Indian youth: What more can be done? (NBC News 10/10)