Oglala Sioux Tribe struggles to address suicide among its youth

From left to right Taylor Christensen, Frances Sierra, Shirley Spider, Allyssa Comer, and James Chief are teen mentors on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota who are helping their peers address youth suicide. Photo by Richie Richards / Native Sun News

Leaders and educators of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota are dealing with another rash of suicide among youth.

Since December, seven young people -- including a 12-year-old -- have committed suicide on the Pine Ridge Reservation. There also have been several attempts.

"The situation has turned into an epidemic," Vice President Thomas Poor Bear told the Associated Press, which also noted that two adults have committed suicide in recent months.

Poor Bear said poverty, bullying and lack of parental involvement lead to suicide. According to the AP, nearly 1,000 attempts were reported on the reservation between 2004 and 2013.

Get the Story:
Impoverished US tribe struggles to stop surge in teen suicides after 7 youths end their lives (AP 4/13)

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