February 10, 2007

Social fragmentation leads to suicide

Life and Death on the Rez

Social Breakdown of Tribal Culture Revealed in Youth SuicidesIn a recent medical paper published by BMJ on the "Ecological Study of Social Fragmentation, Poverty and Suicide," studies revealed that suicide rates are more strongly associated with measures of social fragmentation than with poverty.

"We've lost so much of our identity as a culture," said "Kim," another Santee tribal member who wished to remain anonymous.

Kim said the youth are the ones suffering the most from the social fragmentation that is prevalent today among most Native American tribes.

"At one time in our culture, everyone raised the children. It wasn't just a single mom, or a dad, but the whole tribe raised that child. There was always someone there," Joe said. "Now, people think if they feed their kids, then they're OK. But at one time, everybody fed that child with everything--with love and affection and by talking to them. But somewhere down the road, we lost that."
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Why Americans Commit Suicide.

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