2011 National Suicide Prevention Week
Every 15 minutes someone in the U.S dies of suicide.
Every 16 minutes someone is left to make sense of it.
The recently published IHS Trends in Indian Health, 2002-2003 reports:
Suicide is the second leading cause of death behind unintentional injuries for Indian youth ages 15-24 residing in IHS service areas and is 3.5 times higher than the national average.
Suicide is the 6th leading cause of death overall for males residing in IHS service areas and ranks ahead of homicide.
American Indian and Alaska Native young people ages 15-34 make up 64 percent of all suicides in Indian Country.
- The American Indian and Alaska Native suicide rate (17.9) for the three year period (2002-2004) in the IHS service areas is 1.7 times that of U.S. all races rate (10.8) for 2003.
Many American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities are affected by suicide. Suicide is a major public health concern. Suicide prevention involves everyone from individuals to communities to institutions (schools/hospitals/etc.). There are a wide range of general risk factors that have been shown to contribute to suicide.
|Risk Factors||Protective Factors|
|Previous suicide attempt(s)||Higher self-esteem|
|History of depression or other mental illness||Social connectedness|
|Alcohol or drug abuse||Problem-solving skills|
|Family history of suicide||Supportive family, friends, and community|
|Family history of child maltreatment||Effective clinical care - support for ongoing health care|
|Physical illness||Easy access to variety of intervention|
|Feeling alone/hopelessness||Support for help seeking|
|Impulsive or aggressive tendencies||Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide|
|Local epidemics of suicide||Skills in conflict resolution|
|Barriers to access treatment||Sense of belonging to their culture|
|Loss - relational, social, work, financial||Strong tribal spiritual orientation|
|Easy access to lethal methods||Cultural continuity|
Some of the underlying social, educational, and cultural issues related to suicide include poverty, lack of economic opportunity, limited educational alternatives, community breakdown, familial disruption, and stigma.
Family and friends of people who have committed suicide feel shock, anger, guilt, and depression. Suicide is one of the most tragic events that a family and community can endure and the grief caused by suicide cannot be underestimated or ignored.
Experts know that suicidal crises tend to be brief. When suicidal behaviors are detected early, lives can be saved. There are services available in the community for the assessment and treatment of suicidal behaviors and their underlying causes.
September 4 - September 10 is the National Suicide Prevention Week. This year's theme is "Changing the Legacy of Suicide". Please join Indian Health Service in supporting suicide prevention. Together we can reduce suicide in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
Resources were you can find more information on suicide and suicide prevention: