youth

Photo provided by Arne Vainio

When Arne Vainio set out to write articles on the epidemic of Native youth suicide for Indian Country Today and Indianz.com, he put out a call for names of people who had taken their own lives.

What the Finnish-Ojibwe family medicine practitioner on the Fond du Lac reservation didn't expect was 109 names, including four from one family.

Dr. Arne Vainio sees the effects of poverty, substance abuse, tribes without the resources to provide programs for young people.  Factors as far back as the BIA boarding schools and as current as social media contribute to despair that can sometimes drive Native youth to suicide.

But Vainio is in a unique position to see more than one side of the story:  his father took his own life when Vainio was four years old.


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Native American teens experience the highest rate of suicide of any population in the United states, more than double that of the general population, according to the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute. And as is so often the case, alcohol factors into almost 70% of those deaths. 

The Mental Health Week on KUMD was made possible in part by the Human Development Center, Miller-Dwan Foundation and the St. Luke’s Foundation.

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Duluth's Life House celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with a campaign to finance the renovation of the third floor of their building and provide more emergency and transitional housing for homeless youth.

Every year, Lutheran Social Services (LSS) in Duluth helps over 600 homeless youth in our community.  They provide a gamut of services, from a teen clinic and a runaway program, to transitional housing and street outreach - even help for kids about to age out of the system.

But those services are located throughout the city and aren't always easy to get to.  So LSS has announced plans to build the Center for Changing Lives, one central location in Duluth where homeless kids can find all the help and services they need under one roof.