In the United States, Native American communities experience higher rates of suicide than any other ethnic group. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Native American youth ages 10-24, and Native youth teen suicide rates are nearly 3.5 times higher than the national average.
According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, in Todd County, South Dakota, the home of the Rosebud Reservation, 48% of the youth report feeling helpless, being depressed, or having thoughts of harming themselves or someone else. In Benson County, North Dakota, the home of Spirit Lake Nation and where Four Winds School is located, 44% of the youth report feeling helpless, being depressed, or having thoughts of harming themselves or someone else.
When you are in the valley, what do you need? Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff comfort me. (Psalm 23: 4, NRSV). Friends, our Native American neighbors, especially the youth in North and South Dakota, need us to be like Jesus the Healer.
The 2022 Miracle Offering: Wings for Wellness is a hope-bringing, spirit-fueled activity that will have a lasting impact on Native American youth served by Tree of Life Ministry and Spirit Lake Ministry of the Dakotas Conference.
Our goal for the 2022 Miracle Offering is $50,000 to be shared with the counseling department at Four Winds School, a partner with Spirit Lake Ministry Center in North Dakota, and the counseling department at Todd County Schools, a partner with Tree of Life Ministry Center in South Dakota.