Gallagher Seeks to Increase Awareness of Native American Youth Suicide

September 14, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – In recognition of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Rep. Mike Gallagher is encouraging Northeast Wisconsin to educate themselves on suicide, its warning signs and how it can be prevented, particularly in our Native American communities where youth commit suicide at almost twice the rate of non-Native youth.

“We must do everything we can to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health care so that those in crisis feel comfortable seeking out the help they need before it’s too late. While suicide is not isolated to just one race, age group or socioeconomic class, it is impacting our Native American youth at nearly twice the rate of non-Native youth—a troubling statistic,” Rep. Gallagher said.

“Through increased awareness and community-wide discussions, we can change the conversation about suicide and begin to remedy this tragedy. We cannot afford to ignore this issue any longer. Our society is failing these young people and it is time for change,” Rep. Gallagher concluded.

Rep. Gallagher is an original co-sponsor of several pieces of legislation aimed at improving mental health outcomes for those in crisis, including the Native American Suicide Prevention Act of 2017. This legislation, supported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, is designed to promote meaningful collaboration between state and tribal governments in order to produce inclusive, and impactful statewide programs.

Most recently, Rep. Gallagher joined First Lady Tonette Walker’s effort to push for wider use of trauma informed care. He introduced a bipartisan resolution in the House that recognizes its importance and effectiveness in treating those who have suffered from extreme trauma.

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