Suicide in Indian Country: The Continuing Epidemic in Rural Native American Communities.


Suicide continues to be an epidemic in Indian Country, especially among young American Indians and Alaska Native (AI/AN) individuals. In Indian Country, suicide must be seen within the context of how historical and ongoing present-day trauma has impacted Native communities. The disparities in health, education, and employment opportunities, coupled with the high prevalence of violence and substance abuse, serve to both exacerbate mental health problems and disconnect Native youth from their community and culture. The combination of these stressors contributes to the alarmingly high rate of youth suicides in Indian Country. This article provides an overview of the nature of suicide in Indian Country and introduces promising practices of suicide intervention programs utilized within Indian Country. Additionally, recommendations for the future development of AI/AN suicide prevention programs are provided.