SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Some New Mexico lawmakers have introduced legislation aimed at tackling high suicide rates among Native American youth.
The state Department of Indian Affairs points to data that shows suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth in New Mexico, and suicide rates for Native youth are nearly twice as high as rates for other races and ethnicities.
Of the 54 youth suicides documented in New Mexico between 2008 and 2010, records show 24 were Native Americans.
One bill introduced in the House calls for using $300,000 from the state’s general fund to establish three culturally-based Native American youth suicide prevention initiatives.
Separate measures introduced in the House and Senate would provide funding to train Native American veterans as counselors and to develop a prevention program for youth and their families in Cibola, McKinley and San Juan counties.