Addressing the Suicide Crisis in Indian Country

Suicide is Second Leading Cause of Death for Indian Youth, Rates Quadruple the National Average

As a parent, Sen. Thune cannot imagine a greater tragedy for a family than losing a child, sibling, or friend to suicide. He has helped shine a national spotlight on the crisis of youth suicides in South Dakota’s Indian Country.

Highlights of Sen. Thune’s Commitment to Student Safety and Well-Being:

  • Secured Two Provisions in the Every Child Achieves Act:

    • One of Sen. Thune’s amendments would require the secretary of education to coordinate with other federal agencies to report on efforts to address youth suicides in Indian Country.

    • This will help better focus federal resources and remove barriers to help communities prevent and respond to student suicides.

    • Sen. Thune’s other provision would expand the authorized use of Project School Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) funds to include initiating or strengthening prevention activities in cases of chronic trauma or violence, such as the suicide crisis in Indian Country.

    • Schools on the Pine Ridge Reservation have been recipients of Project SERV grant funds, and this amendment would allow all grantees more flexibility in creating prevention programs.