Grijalva Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Address Suicide Prevention in Indian Country
WASHINGTON, D.C.–Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) reintroduced the Native American Suicide Prevention Act, which would require states to collaborate with tribes in an effort to curtail the alarming rate of suicide amongst Native American populations. The bill would allow each Federally recognized Indian tribe, tribal organization, and urban Indian organization in the State the ability to provide input on developing and implementing statewide suicide intervention and prevention strategies. In tribal communities, suicide is the second leading cause of death for Native Americans ages 10-34. The suicide rate is 1.5 times higher than the national average for 15-34 year olds.
“The alarming rate of suicide in our country, and especially among Native youth is a crisis that merits immediate attention” Rep. Grijalva said. “The conversation on suicide intervention and prevention must begin with the input of those who are afflicted by this crisis most, tribal communities. There can be no solution to this issue without taking into account the complexities that come with it. It must be a multifaceted approach that increases access to mental health care and resources and does so in a way that is culturally sensitive. This bill is a first step in guaranteeing a reasonable effort is made to reduce the rate of suicide in Indian country.”
“We cannot abandon our Native American communities, especially our Native youth, when it comes to addressing the challenges they face daily, especially in the arena of suicide prevention and mental health support” Rep. Cole said. “Having broader access to resources and help for tribes will be an significant step in reducing the suicide rate in Indian country. I’m proud to join my friend Congressman Grijalva on this effort, and I look forward to witnessing its positive impact in Native communities.”
Rep. Grijalva and Rep. Cole are joined by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-CA), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Rep. Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-American Somoa-At-Large), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC) and Rep. Darell E. Issa (R-CA).