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Cheyenne Kippenberger to speak at Congressional hearing on mental health

Miss Indian World and UNITY peer guide ambassador Cheyenne Kippenberger will be among the speakers at a Congressional subcommittee hearing on July 16, 2020. (Courtesy photo)

Miss Indian World and Seminole tribal member Cheyenne Kippenberger is scheduled to participate in a remote Congressional oversight hearing about mental health issues among Native American youth.

On July 16 at 1 p.m. (ET) Native youth leaders from United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) will participate in the online hearing led by Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego, chair of the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States. The title of the hearing is “Native Youth Perspectives on Mental Health and Healing.” Kippenberger, who has made mental health a major focal point of her reign as MIW, and other Native youth leaders from across the country will discuss the mental health impacts facing Native youth in the United States, education and safety, and ideas on how policy can reduce trauma and promote healing.

“Mental health is a vitally important topic, particularly now as the coronavirus pandemic is afflicting our communities,” Mary Kim Titla, UNITY executive director, said in a statement. “I’m proud to see our Native youth speaking before Congress, sharing their insight on what can and should be done to protect Native lives.”

American Indian and Alaska Native children and adolescents have the highest rates of lifetime major depressive episodes, substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, intergenerational trauma, suicide, and attachment disorders, according to the American Psychiatric Association. This disproportionate harmful impact has been compounded by the physical and mental effects of the pandemic.

“Native Youth Perspectives on Mental Health and Healing” can be viewed live on Facebook (click here) and YouTube (click here). The following Native youth leaders are scheduled to participate in the hearing: