Teenage Suicide Rate High Among Arizona Native Americans

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I was dismayed when reading in the Casa Grande Dispatch the other day that the rate of suicides among Native American teens in Arizona was considerably higher based on percentage of teenagers and that this is actually a national epidemic rather than localized.  According to the Arizona Department of Health Services 49 teen suicides were reported in Arizona; 7 of which where from Native American communities.

In reading the article it would seem that not only does peer pressure, bullying and adult criticisms play a factor, but in some communities where unemployment exceeds 50% and many families are just barely living at the poverty level this puts strain on everyone from adults to children.

There are few things in life I can imagine more horrifying than one’s child taking their own life, and it is so utterly important to have open and established communication with children so that they can build that trust to come to a parent when they are feeling depressed or even begin having thoughts of suicide.  Though in many cases children will still simply hide their feelings and intentions, I do believe monitoring a child and teenagers activities and communications is important.

My heart goes out to the families suffering losses, and let’s hope a widespread education campaign and openly discussing such things with your own children can help prevent any more children from feeling like the only way to deal with their issues or life is to check out permanently.

You can read more in this Associated Press article here: [LINK].

-Justin Germino

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Updated: March 31, 2011 — 8:00 am