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April 4, 2009

Johanns Works To Bring Mental Health Services to Native American Youth

Washington, DC

Senator Mike Johanns announced today he will co-sponsor the Indian Youth Telemental Health Demonstration Project Act. This legislation will provide greater access to mental health care for young Native Americans through communications technology.

"The suicide rate among young Native Americans is deeply concerning to me, and many of these kids suffer from a mental illness," Johanns said. "I believe that by using telemedicine to provide more access to behavioral health care professionals, we can reduce the number of suicides. I have long advocated for providing better access to health care for our Native American population. We have a moral obligation to act, and this legislation takes the next step to improving health care for Native American communities."

Ninety percent of all teens who commit suicide suffer from a diagnosable mental illness. The Indian Youth Telemental Health Project would provide additional resources to use information and communications technology to provide additional mental health resources and help lower the suicide rate among Native American youths.

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