Essay about Teenage Suicide Among Native Americans

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AMERICAN INDIAN YOUTH SUICIDE

“Things go wrong that they can’t change. They don’t get shown the love they need. They say, ‘You don’t love me when I was here. Now you love me when I’m not here’ (Mangas, 2010).” Coloradas Mangas, a resident of the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico, answers why he thinks suicide is so common with his peers. A then 15 year old Mangas chillingly recalled his recent encounter with a friend’s close attempt and the aftermath of his friends suicides, all occurring within the timespan of a few weeks. In light of the events and alarmingly high suicide rate of American Indian and Alaskan Native youth, he addressed his community’s desperation for help before a lawmaking panel at a US Senate Indian
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At the extreme rate of 14.6 per 100,000 people, the youth suicide epidemic has pushed tribes into declaring states of emergency and creating crisis-intervention teams in response (Hill, 2009.) The cultural view of the suicide phenomenon has more or less accepted it as a normality, in which suicidal attempts have even dangerously become a form of childhood entertainment. Strong determining factors for the high rate include residence in urban versus rural communities, tribal differences, the level of social integration allowed within each community, historical trauma and the legacy of colonization that still imposes acculturative stress, unstable identities, religious and social practices and tribal structure (Paniagua, 2013.) This wavering identity impairs a sense of belonging, which poses possible conflicts with mental health. Looking back into past statistics, the AI/AN youth have continued to predominantly take the lead in highest suicide rate -- instead of decreasing in numbers, they’re increasing. In conjunction with the high suicide rate, the American Indian/Alaska

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