Rep. Kristi Noem joined Reps. Raul Grijalva, Tom Cole and others in introducing H.R.3473, the Native American Suicide Prevention Act. The suicide crisis in Indian Country has had heartbreaking impacts on many tribal communities in South Dakota.  Nationally, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10-34 year old Native Americans and Alaskan Natives. For ages 15-34, suicide occurs at a rate 1.5 times higher than the national average for that age group.

“Lakota Instructions for Living teaches ‘the hurt of one is the hurt of all,’” said Noem. “Tribal communities in South Dakota have had to experience the hurt of losing a loved one to suicide far too many times in recent years. While I understand there are no words that can wipe away this pain, I want to make sure we have the tools in place to better prevent such hurt in the future. By supporting a more collaborative approach, I’m hopeful this legislation will lead to more effective interventions going forward.”

The Native American Suicide Prevention Act supports stronger collaborations between state and tribal governments in crafting and implementing suicide intervention and prevention strategies.

This legislation follows work Noem did last Congress to promote mental health services within tribal communities.  In 2015, Noem brought one of Congress’s leading voices on mental health, Rep. Tim Murphy – a psychologist, to Pine Ridge to meet with those fighting the tribal suicide epidemic.  Because of their partnership, new provisions were drafted to help support and prioritize Native American suicide programs. These provisions were signed into law as part of the 21st Century CURES Act.

Do you want to sign up for my E-Newsletter?