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Posted: July 14, 2020

Artwork by Evynn Richardson (Haliwa-Saponi Tribe). Image courtesy UNITY


UNITY’s Native Youth Leaders Will Participate in Congressional Hearing on Mental Health

The live-streamed event to take place on Thursday, July 16 will explore what can be done to mitigate mental health issues impacting Native youth.

July 14, 2020 – Mesa, AZ – On Thursday, July 16 at 1 p.m. EST, Native youth leaders from United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) will participate in a congressional forum led by Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), chair of the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States. The subject of the hearing is Native Youth Perspectives on Mental Health and Healing. Native youth leaders from across the country will discuss the mental health impacts facing Native youth in the United States, education and safety, and ideas on how policy can reduce trauma and promote healing.

“Mental health is a vitally important topic, particularly now as the coronavirus pandemic is afflicting our communities,” said Mary Kim Titla, UNITY executive director. “I’m proud to see our Native youth speaking before Congress, sharing their insight on what can and should be done to protect Native lives.”

According to the American Psychiatric Association, American Indian and Alaska Native children and adolescents have the highest rates of lifetime major depressive episodes, substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, intergenerational trauma, suicide, and attachment disorders. This disproportionate harmful impact has been compounded by the physical and mental effects of the pandemic.

Native Youth Perspectives on Mental Health and Healing can be viewed live on Facebook ( or YouTube ( The following Native youth leaders will be participating in the hearing:

Marco Ovando

Leticia Gonzales

Cheyenne Kippenberger

Robert “Scottie” Miller


Founded in 1976, United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) is a national network organization promoting personal development, citizenship, and leadership among Native Youth. UNITY’s mission is to foster the spiritual, mental, physical, and social development of American Indian and Alaska Native youth ages 14 -24, and to help build a strong, unified, and self-reliant Native America through greater youth involvement. UNITY’s network currently includes 320 affiliated youth councils in 36 states. Youth Councils are sponsored by Tribes, Alaska Native villages, high schools, colleges, urban centers, and others.

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