Lawmakers question Indian youth suicide prevention plan
A group of state lawmakers is still asking if having a contractor form a strategic plan to address the high rate of suicides among Montana’s American Indian children is the best way to fix the problem.
On Wednesday a member of the State-Tribal Relations Interim Committee questioned why a company contracted to create an American Indian youth suicide prevention plan left elders out of the process. This spring the same group of lawmakers urged the state Department of Public Health and Human Services to look at ways to send money to the tribes and local programs instead of hiring a company to form a plan.
The state hired Kauffman & Associates Inc. of Spokane, Wash., to develop the plan. In a letter asking for nominations for people to serve on a coalition, Kauffman asked people to submit the names of elected leaders, health directors or community members with experience in the area of youth suicide, as well as a youth representative. The letter encouraged diverse nominations including women, veterans and LGBT tribal members.