Youth involved in the University of New Mexico’s Honoring Native Life initiative want to be heard. The Native American Suicide Prevention Clearinghouse, a resource to tribes in New Mexico for suicide prevention and suicide response, today helped their voices reach far and wide with the release of a video directed toward tribal leaders and policy makers.
“What we need from our tribal leaders and policy makers is more sympathy towards the different generations that exist in our communities—the elders, parents, adults, youth, adolescents,” says a participant in the video. “Something that will bring those groups together but also recognize their differences.”
The video, which can be viewed at http://honoringnativelife.org, is meant to direct attention to the needs of Native American youth and strengthen tribal leadership and tribal policy makers’ involvement in suicide prevention.
The video was created at the recent Honoring Native Life Summit, an event specifically focused on addressing suicide in Indian Country. The Summit included involvement from the Pueblos of San Felipe and Zuni; Navajo Nation; Mescalero Apache Nation; Albuquerque Area Indian Health Service; New Mexico Indian Affairs Department; White Mountain Apache Tribe of Arizona; and several other tribal communities throughout the State.
“The message that we are hearing from tribal youth is that they want a voice, and in that respect, they want to feel like a priority to leaders and policy makers,” said Sheri Lesansee (Pueblo of Zuni), UNM, Department of Psychiatry, Center for Rural & Community Behavioral Health.
More than 30,000 people in the U.S. die by suicide every year. It is this country’s 11th leading cause of death. New Mexico consistently ranks among the top five states in the U.S. for its suicide rate, which is 1.5 to two times the national average. Suicide is the 9th leading cause of death for New Mexicans.