Congresswoman Grace Napolitano and the Congressional Native American Caucus will co-host a panel event on mental health in Indian Country, with a special focus on Native American youth, on May 8 from 9:30 – 10:30 AM EST on Capitol Hill. This event is designed to educate members of Congress about mental health challenges experienced by young people in Indian Country and to recognize and support solutions. The panel will be moderated by Erin Bailey, Executive Director of the Center for Native American Youth.
- Teressa Baldwin, Youth Mental Health Advocate
- Dr. Susan Karol, MD; Indian Health Service
- John Madigan, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
There are currently over 2.1 million American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) under the age of 24 living in the United States. These youth make up approximately 42 percent of the AI/AN population, and they are a vital and vibrant part of their tribal nations. However, Native American youth also face significant challenges to their development and well-being. Their communities face a legacy of historical trauma and chronic underfunding of federal obligations. Native youth struggle against high rates of poverty, high-school dropout, violence, and substance and drug abuse. Amongst youth in the 15 to 24 age group, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death and in some communities suicide rates are 10 times the national average.
To help address these issues, CNAY works with National stakeholders like the Indian Health Service, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and tribal organizations to elevate priorities from Native youth and tribes regarding important issues like mental health. Read CNAY’s Voices of Native Youth Volume III to learn more!
**Join the conversation and spread the word on Twitter by following CNAY at @Center4Native. We invite you to post “6-WORD STORIES” on Facebook and Twitter to share positive messages about the importance of mental health in Indian Country. Please use the official Mental Health Awareness Month hashtag #mhm2014 and #sixwords to participate and have your voice be heard!