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Native Americans

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Montana Native Americans have the highest rate of suicide in a state that has the highest rate in the nation. Tribal Leaders are not taking these deaths lightly, and the fight against suicide has begun.

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Stephanie Woodward reports on how The Cheyenne River Youth Project (CRYP) has started to take steps towards healthier, diabetes-free youth, with informational video and media materials.

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Montana is a vast, frontier state with many small towns scattered in rural counties. A few of those counties don’t have a single doctor or even a pharmacy. For Montanans suffering with mental health issues, those distances can be especially devastating.

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Candida KingBird, 38, has lived a decade with diabetes and has five children, the last of whom nearly died from problems related to the disease after a cesarean section. Read about her journey through a difficulty, risky sixth pregnancy.

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Native Americans have the highest diabetes rate among all racial and ethnic groups in America and offer a preview of where the rest of the country is headed. They also have found ways to keep the disease at bay. 

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Candida King Bird, 38, the diabetic pregnant mother featured in The Oregonian earlier this month, delivered a healthy 9-pound, 12-ounce girl on Thursday.

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By most measures, Native Americans' health problems exceed the average, and it's even worse for urban Indians who can't tap social and health services available on distant reservations. The problem's not new, but some of the solutions are.

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The construction of a dam near an Indian reservation on the Missouri River forced residents to less fertile land and put an end to their farming habits. Since then, American Indians have experienced a lack of nutrition, leading to diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

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Although teen suicide attempts have declined gradually since the 1990s, death by suicide has risen 8 percent among teenagers, according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, it’s the third leading cause of death for teens between the ages of 15 and 19. While each suicide is a unique story, there is a common thread: More than 90 percent of teens who kill themselves show signs of major depression or another mental illness in the year prior to their deaths.

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