At Native Hope we believe that partnerships are key. Collaborating and coming together to empower Native American youth is the way for the culture to thrive. Kansas Middletent, Native Hope Ambassador, recently spoke at the Helpline Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, about his life growing up on the reservation in an effort to help educate on cultural beliefs and Native American challenges. Because the center receives a large amount of calls from the Native American community, they are always striving to better understand their callers who are dealing with a crisis.
In response to the event, Wendy Holbrook, Call Center Director, says, “I can’t thank you and Kansas enough for the service you are providing to make a difference. Kansas’ presentation was top-notch! Moving, personal, pertinent to our needs to better help our callers. I would love to have all staff see his presentation."
Part of our partnership with the Helpline Center was to offer a suicide prevention training that Native Hope would host. Over 20 people registered and gathered at the Native Hope office to learn more about this epidemic and to be qualified in suicide risk assessment. The building was full of different ages, different races, and different job roles, but everyone had one goal in mind: saving lives.
Although suicide is a serious national epidemic, the statistics are disproportionately high in Indian country, largely as a result of historical trauma. Native Hope Director, Trisha Burke, says, “We need to be proactive. When a parent dies by suicide, a child is four times more likely to die by suicide.” Our community recognizes this is a far-reaching problem, and we are coming together because we want the tools to better understand how we can end this.
On some reservations, the suicide rate is 10 times the national average. It will really take all of us working together to end this crisis. Thank you to the Helpline Center and all the community leaders who joined us. Together, we can help change the statistics and be a part of the solution.
If you or someone you know needs help and you are in the Sioux Falls area, please call the Helpline Center at 211 or call the National Suicide Awareness Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).