The first mental and behavioral health 988 crisis line in the nation tailored for Native and Indigenous people, run by an all-Native team, is live for Washington residents.
A group of 16 people run the Native and Strong Crisis Lifeline, which folds into the existing 988 hotline that debuted this summer. Now, 988 callers will have the option of pressing 4 to connect to a counselor who is familiar with “historical, intergenerational trauma, self care [and] more traditional elements,” said Rochelle Williams, the tribal operations manager with Volunteers of America Western Washington, an enrolled member of the Ehattesaht First Nation and a descendant of the Tulalip Tribes.
Native people have endured decades of suffering from the effects of Western colonization and displacement from their traditional land, language and cultures, Williams said. It’s led to higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance use and suicide.
Current data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found American Indian and Alaska Native people have the highest rate of suicide compared to their non-Native counterparts with 23.9 deaths by suicide per 100,000 people compared to 16.9 deaths for white people, 7.8 for Black people, and 7.5 for Hispanic people.
Read more at SeattleTimes.com.
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