Native Americans and Alaskan Natives (shortened to AIAN) make up nearly 3 million people in the United States today. The proportion of AIAN youth in the community is higher than that of the total American population: while 24% of the total population is under 18, 32% of AIAN are under 18, with the average age being 26 compared to the total average of 37. More than 40% of AIAN are under 24, too.
Considering these larger youth proportions in the AIAN community, it’s important to note that the mental health disparities are also higher than average. This specifically affects Native adolescent girls, who have death rates at nearly four times the rate of white female adolescents. This includes suicide, which is the second leading cause of death in AIAN youth, and is 3.5 times more than the national average.
In an effort to provide a thorough resources for all things health, including mental health, We R Native provides content specifically for AIAN youth. Their mental health section covers a variety of issues, from depression to grief to suicide. All of their topics include articles and information that don’t just educate AIAN youth as a whole, but includes stories, videos, and information that affects them directly. They even have sections about issues that could contribute to mental health issues too, such as gangs and life transitions.
We R Native also offers a service where they can text users weekly for health tips and life advice. You can explore more of what the site has here!
Do you identify as AIAN, or do you know anyone who does? How do you think people can spread awareness about AIAN youth and the mental health issues they face?