Lakota Country Times: Teenager's anti-suicide movement grows

A message on a basketball launched Janay Jumping Eagle on a anti-suicide campaign that has reached all the way to the White House. Photo by Janay Jumping Eagle

Teen's Anti-Suicide Movement Grows
By Brandon Ecoffey
Lakota Country Times Editor

KYLE-- Suicide on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation has been a hot topic for decades as many have lost their battle with the disease. One teenager however has taken on the spirit of suicide and has employed the help of the community in an effort to end it once and for all.

As a freshman at Little Wound High School Janay Jumping Eagle scribbled a message on a ball, took a photo of it and posted it online with a message. The message directed to all youth who were suffering in some way from the effects of a long lasting epidemic of youth suicides on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The message read "There is hope".

In the post that accompanied her message Janay dedicated the remainder of her freshman season to suicide awareness and prevention. The post itself went viral across the country as many jumped on board in support of her message.

As part of Janay's efforts to raise awareness about suicide she has placed an emphasis on basketball as her own outlet from the struggles of everyday life. Naturally, Janay has created a free basketball tournament for her fellow youth to come and learn about how to deal with their own negative feelings and how to respond to friends who may be at risk.

President Barack Obama's signature is seen on the #ThereIsHope basketball. First Lady Michelle Obama also signed the ball. Photo by Janay Jumping Eagle

“I just want all the sad boys and girls to feel happy when they pick up the basketball to compete,” Jumping Eagle explained, “We all hope this event will continue to raise awareness of teen suicide, by encouraging young people to reach out for help.”

Now in its second year the tournament the family invited 5th -12th grade basketball players to participate in the weekend long event.

During the tournament a meal is provided to the community by Janay's family and information is supplied to everyone in attendance about the importance of wellness.

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The tournament was open to boys and girls began with registration and an opening ceremony on Friday, April 8. Each team was accompanied by an adult. There was no fee for the event and prizes were awarded. T-shirts also were provided.

For more information on the event or to donate please contact Ryan Jumping Eagle at 605-407-0275 or via email at

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at

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