Havre Daily News: Tester: Feds could help reduce suicide rate among Native American teens

Montana’s U. S. Sen. Jon Tester said Tuesday that while the federal government can’t provide the solution to rising suicide rates of youths on Indian reservations, but it can be part of the solution.

“I think it really starts with people working together in the communities, ” he said in an interview in Havre.

Tester chaired a field hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in Poplar to hear testimony about suicides in Indian Country. Fort Peck Indian Reservation declared an emergency last year after six youths committed suicide and another 20 attempted suicide.

Tester said the suicide rate on reservations — Fort Peck has 10 times as many suicides as the average rate — has to be dealt with.

“It’s a big problem, unfortunately, and that’s not just from my lips, it’s a proven fact, ” he said.

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