American Indians and suicide: a neglected area of research.

Suicide is a major public health problem for American Indians in the United States. Published studies indicate that American Indians experience the highest rate of suicide of all ethnic groups in the United States. This article synthesizes the epidemiology and risk factors associated with suicide among American Indians, barriers to research, prevention, mental-health services, and recommendations for research and practice. The authors’ recommendations arise from the current literature as well as interviews with practitioners and academics in the field of suicide prevention. The authors present significant substantive and methodological issues that inform research on suicide in American Indian communities, as well as existing contemporary interventions. Overall, socioeconomic characteristics, substance abuse, barriers to mental health services and acculturation play a role in the occurrence of suicide in American Indian communities. These findings suggest suicide is an important public health problem that needs to be addressed for American Indians.