The numbers are staggering.
|AP Photo/James MacPherson A stuffed bear is placed on a white picket fence on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012 in New Town, N.D.|
Five years ago, psychiatrist R. Dale Walker was invited to a small Northern Plains reservation that had suffered 17 suicides in eight months. It was there, listening in a group therapy meeting, that he first heard the phrase "grieved out."
Walker, who specializes in American Indian psychiatric issues and is himself a Cherokee, felt overwhelmed at the toll that suicide was taking on reservations and Indian communities.
"One of the most difficult things to hear is when the community says, 'We can grieve no more. We're cried out. We just can't respond anymore to the problem,'" he said. "It really does have an impact."
Walker has become more attuned to this sense of being too exhausted to grieve with each new call to an American Indian community that is facing an unusually high rate of suicide.
Suicide looks very different in Native communities than it does in the general population. Nationally, suicide tends to skew middle-aged (and white); but among Native Americans, 40 percent of those who die by suicide are between the ages of 15 and 24. And among young adults ages 18 to 24, Native American have higher rates of suicide than any other ethnicity, and higher than the general population.
A new report, published by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, highlights what Native American health experts have long known: Suicide among Native youth is a crisis, and one that is not receiving the attention it needs.
The long term affects of poverty and Third World conditions on reservations are genocide... My Uncle Black Bear Stephen LaBoueff has worked on this issue for several YEARS. I also interviewed him for News From Indian Country and we keep in touch. ...Trace Hentz, blog editor
Read Stephen's blog: http://wisdomofcoyote.blogspot.com/2014/04/have-plan-of-action.html?spref=tw
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