Pine Ridge teen suicide rate sparks DOJ response

PINE RIDGE, S.D. (KOTA TV) Citing an increase in youth suicide over a 16-month period, the Department of Justice launched efforts to help Oglala Sioux Tribal police officers deal with the tragedies.

The Critical Response Technical Assistance program includes trauma training for tribal police and community policing plans.

This follows a state of emergency declared by the Pine Ridge tribal government.

According to a Justice Department release, Between Dec. 1, 2014 and March 23, 2015, the Pine Ridge Hospital treated an unprecedented number of patients younger than 19 years old who actively planned, attempted or committed suicide.

This isn’t the first time that the reservation has had to deal with increased teen suicides. A previous emergency declaration was made following a string of deaths in 2009.

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