"Despite the strengths of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) families and communities, suicide remains a devastating and all too frequent event. Complex, interrelated factors contribute to an increased suicide risk among AI/AN people. Risk factors include mental health disorders, substance abuse, intergenerational trauma, and community-wide issues. Factors that protect AI/AN youth and young adults against suicidal behavior are a sense of belonging to one's culture, a strong tribal/spiritual bond, the opportunity to discuss problems with family or friends, feeling connected to family, and positive emotional health. Cooperation among tribal, federal, and other partners is imperative to create a safety net of interconnected programming—health, education, law enforcement, public health and well-being, economic development, and physical and behavioral health—to maximize effectiveness of services and to protect individuals against suicide risk" (Indian Health Service).
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Native youth ages 10-24.
- Suicide rates are more than three times higher than the general United States population, and up to 10 times higher on some reservations.
- Suicide was the eighth leading cause of death for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) of all ages.