Native Youth Promote Suicide Prevention Message
UNITY announces its #IwillLive initiative during National Suicide Prevention Week and call for moment of silence on World Suicide Prevention Day
September 4, 2015 – Mesa, Arizona — United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) is encouraging all Native youth to participate in its #IwillLive campaign during the National Suicide Prevention Week, September 7-13, 2015. At the National UNITY Conference in Washington, DC, the National UNITY Council (NUC), comprising of Native youth representatives from across the United States, passed the National Suicide Prevention Initiative resolution, later renamed the “I Will Live” Initiative, in an effort to further bring attention to the suicide epidemic among Native youth in Indian Country, and to save lives.
According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention, every year, almost one million people die from suicide; this roughly corresponds to one death every 40 seconds. The number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined.
The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention reports, suicide rates are high among all American Indian and Alaska Native (Native American) populations, with youth being affected most. Forty percent of all Native American suicides involve children and youth ages 15 to 24. And in Native communities, youth suicide contagion is common, where one suicide triggers others attempts, resulting in multiple suicides or attempts within a short time frame.
“With the suicide rates for young Native Americans being more than three times the national average and up to 10 times the national average on some reservations, it is imperative that we all do our part to bring awareness to this disease which is greatly affecting our Native youth and communities”, said Mary Kim Titla, Executive Director of UNITY. “We encourage Native youth to embrace and promote the #IwillLive campaign in their own circles and communities, with the hopes of reaching that person who is really needing to see positive messages of hope and encouragement,” added Titla.
UNITY is sponsoring a #IwillLive social media contest, with the winner receiving a registration scholarship to the 2016 National UNITY Conference, valued at $300. Those wishing to participate can post and share photos of life, family, friends, hobbies, etc., showing celebration of life. Post should be made on any of UNITY’s social media pages (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter) and include the hashtag #IwillLive.
UNITY is also promoting the 2nd Annual “Moment Of Silence” on September 10, 2015. On this day, UNITY encourages its Native youth councils and others to plan a Moment of Silence remembering those who have passed on and offering prayers for those who suffer from depression or are considered high risk. The official UNITY “Moment of Silence” will take place at 4 p.m. eastern, 1 p.m. pacific.
UNITY – I Will Live:
For more information and resources, UNITY has created a “I Will Live” page on its website, which includes resources for suicide prevention. CLICK HERE to view the UNITY “I WILL LIVE” page.
To learn more about warning signs go to http://www.suicidology.org/resources/warning-signs
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
1-800-273-TALK (8255) or www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Tribal Warm Line:
If you need someone to talk to, are feeling down or need help from someone who understands American Indian communities, the Tribal Warm Line is the place to call (AZ residents only). Community members call for a variety of reasons including emotional support, relationship issues, anxiety, depression and referrals to community services/resources. Call 1-855-728-8630