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Native American schools address suicide

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Native American schools address suicide

GSE Professor Teresa LaFromboise talks about what Native schools are doing to improve students' social-emotional skills.

Note: This episode discusses self-harm.

Native Americans and indigenous Alaskans have the highest suicide rate of any racial or ethnic group in the country, especially among young people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Contributing factors include historical trauma and genocide, poverty, discrimination, violence and underemployment, said Teresa LaFromboise, an education professor in developmental and psychological sciences at Stanford Graduate School of Education. And given the closeness of Native American communities, “everyone’s very seriously impacted” when young people die by suicide, she said. 

On this episode of School’s In, LaFromboise joined GSE Dean Dan Schwartz and Senior Lecturer Denise Pope to talk about what Native schools are doing to protect young people from self-harm.

Though it can be hard to find classroom time given the emphasis on testing, she said, educators are developing suicide prevention programs for Native teenagers. LaFromboise worked with the Zuni Pueblo on a curriculum to improve social-emotional skills and decrease suicide risk.

In some places Native Americans have taken control of their local schools to infuse “culturally sustaining pedagogy throughout,” LaFromboise said.

You can listen to "School's In" on SiriusXM Insight channel 121, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Soundcloud.

Faculty mentioned in this article: Teresa LaFromboise

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