Suicide prevention focus of conference

Suicide prevention focus of conference The 15th Annual Red Road Gathering at The University of South Dakota will focus on the suicide epidemic spreading throughout tribes in the U.S. and Canada.

This year's theme, "Prevention of Suicide through Life Empowering Opportunities" is based on the Lakota Suicide Prevention and Intervention Model developed by Gene D. Thin Elk.

The gathering is Sept. 16-18 at the Clay County 4-H Center in Vermillion beginning at 8 a.m., with sessions running throughout the evening. Arnold Thomas, M.S.W. Shoshone-Paiute, will open the event with his personal suicide survival story at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Native American and Alaskan Native Youth, at nearly three times the national suicide rate.

The goal of the Red Road Gathering is to provide a safe environment where individuals and families dealing with the issues of suicide can come take part in a holistic process to openly share, process, educate and receive resources from professionals, other individuals and families dealing with similar experiences.

The suicide prevention process is founded upon the Cagleska (Medicine Wheel) concept with four distinct quadrants. Each specific quadrant consists of a panel of people who have experiences in dealing with the issues of suicide.�

Additionally, the "Global Healing Village" will include healers from across Canada and the U.S. providing a variety of holistic healing techniques.

Generous donations by individuals, organizations and departments at USD keep the gathering free to participants.

For more information on the Red Road Gathering, to register, or to view a tentative agenda, visit the Web site or call the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Studies Department at 677-5386.

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