6.34 Montana : Reasons for suicide amplified for Native Americans , The Billings Gazette , Feb. 20, 2011
Violence, emotional and physical neglect, alcohol and drug abuse, and poverty are facts of life for many children living on Indian reservations. “The unfortunate and often forgotten reality is that there is an epidemic of violence and harm directed toward this very vulnerable population,” said Dolores Subia BigFoot, director of the Indian Country Trauma Center at the University of Oklahoma, in testimony given before the Senate Committee of Indian Affairs. “These youth often make the decision to take their own lives because they feel a lack of safety in their environment.” A number of tribes have provided safe places for at-risk children, such as emergency homes and shelters. The Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Association is involved in a variety of efforts to keep at-risk kids safe, including: sponsoring the suicide prevention program Planting Seeds of Hope; developing a comprehensive suicide prevention plan for Montana’s seven reservations and the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming; and partnering with the Montana Office of Public Instruction to develop wraparound services to provide for children’s health, mental health, and social services needs and help keep them in school.
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