CNAY Co-Hosts Congressional Briefing for National Mental Health Awareness Month

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano and the Congressional
Native American Caucus, along with the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY), will co-host a panel event on mental health in Indian
Country, with a special focus on Native American youth. The panel will take place 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 solutions making a difference and preventing suicide. The panel will include Erin
, Executive Director of CNAY as well as: 

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
, which summarizes conversations with youth through nearly 100 roundtable events, to learn more about youth priorities.  

**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! 



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