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Standing Rock Continues Fight Against Suicide

February 3, 2014, 6:20 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Standing Rock Continues Fight Against Suicide

Leaders on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation continue to fight suicide.
The suicide rate among Native Americans is well above the national average according to Indian Health Service.
"It's still a problem. We can't ignore it; it's something that's there," Standing Rock Tribal Chair Dave Archambault said.

Archambault says efforts to combat the problem date back to the late 1990's when a suicide outbreak occurred.    

First it was a suicide task force, followed by a suicide prevention plan made up of long and short-term goals. Officials can point to progress but would like to see more.
"This past December we had two young boys complete. That's two too many; that's an outbreak," Archambault said.

Those responding to the issue are making grief counseling available and a suicide hotline.

The tribe is training workers in education, law enforcement and other fields on how to detect and respond to someone contemplating suicide. It's also training the general public.

"You just don't hear about the attempts. You just hear about the completions. Ideations come in on a daily basis", Archambault said.

Suicidal ideations are thoughts of suicide. Archambault says if someone is identified as having them, officers go to their home for a welfare check.

Archambault is hopeful for better days to come.

"I think everybody hopes for that. Nobody wants to see anything like that happen. Nobody wants to experience it. Nobody wants anyone that they're close to all of a sudden take their own life. We all want the numbers to decline so we've got to do what we can," Archambault said.

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