Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Suicide Prevention Project

Suicide is an urgent issue in our community locally and for American Indians across the state.

  • American Indians have the highest rate of suicide in Minnesota.
  • Aitkin County is ranked 1st in Minnesota for the highest suicide rate of any county in the state.
  • The leading means/method of suicide amongst American Indians in Minnesota is suffocation (68%).

Suicide and substance use are connected issues. From 2016-2020, thirty-three Native people died by overdose in connection with Aitkin, Mille Lacs, and Pine County, with increases in 2019 and 2020. Statewide, overdose deaths increased in 2019 and 2020. Substance use isn’t criminal- these are our relatives struggling with mental health. Students who think adults in their community’s care about them are less likely to report past month alcohol use, marijuana use, and prescription drug misuse.

Prevention efforts must focus on youth.

  • Youth ages 15-34 make up 55% of people who die by suicide among American Indians in Minnesota.
  • Native youth are struggling with depression (58% of Native youth in Mille Lacs, 67% in Pine) and anxiety.
  • Youth are struggling with suicide ideation (35% of Native youth in Mille Lacs, 55% in Pine) and suicide attempts.
  • However, Native youth more frequently reported participation in an out of school time activities and programs – that’s a strong foundation we can build off of.

Suicide Prevention Contacts

It is recommended that you program at least one of these into your phone, so that you have it in the event of a crisis.

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe HHS:  Need Help? Call 320-674-4385 to talk to a therapist. We are here for you 24/7.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: Are you in a crisis? Call 800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741.

Zero Suicide:

Now Matters Now:

Lifeline Crisis Chat: IM – 800-273-TALK

Online PEER Support Chat: LGBTQ, IM – 888-843-4564

RAINN Online Hotline: sexual assault, global access –

Veteran’s Live Chat: global access for American vets – also text 838255

Teen Line Online:

Trevor: LGBTQ youth

National Crisis Text Line for the Deaf: text HAND to 839863

Safer Suicide Care Online Course:

Coming Soon!

988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

This dialing code will be available to everyone across the United States starting on July 16, 2022.

The current Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, even after 988 is launched nationally.

Other Resources