The occurrence of suicide is rising all over the world, and unfortunately teenagers are amongst the majority of those who wish to die at their own hands. Although attempts to create awareness against the global issue are being conducted at various platforms, a unique way has been developed amongst the community of Wind River Range. A Horse Cultural program has been initiated in order to reduce the rate of teen suicides in the state of Wyoming.
According to statistics, Wyoming has one of the highest suicide rates in the country. Volunteers of the beautiful state are working hard to create awareness of the issue. But unfortunately, the levels still remain alarmingly high. This is why Director of Northern Arapaho Social Services, Allison Sage came up with the idea to include horses in the process.
Horses have long been part of the Wyoming culture. The horses give out a good spirit, he believes. When the kids are on the backs of the horses, they are usually smiling. Allison Sage starts each class with a prayer and a small introduction of the participants. Each participant takes turn saying their name and how they are feeling in the Arapaho language. The day is ended in the same way to see if being around their four-legged friends had helped the kids improve their moods.
The suicide prevention method using horses was started amongst the teen community to help them express their feelings and mixed emotions more publicly. Although Allison Sage has mentioned that he gets calls from kids who are attempting suicides every weekend, the rates are low in their reservation when compared to the whole state. This is why it is important to do something to stop the plague before it erupts in Wind River Range. And horses are providing the best support against it.
An 11-year old boy agrees that the suicide prevention method is working well for him. An expert rider, Kaden comments that every time he has a fight with his father or is upset about something or the other, he grabs his colt and rides around the rivers and the ditches. The horse ride makes him calm and more at peace with the current situation.
However, not all kids are as experienced riders as Kaden. Some are even younger than him and are doing their best to overcome their fears. Help is always at hand for kids who require assistance leading the horses as many volunteers are on board along with the Program Director to spread awareness and teach the kids a new skill.
The Horse Cultural Program meets two times a week at various ranches. Allison Sage is doing as much as possible to promote his cause through word-of-mouth and social media. With the traditional cultural program, he believes that he can make a difference in many kids’ lives. Just like us, horses are also against teen suicides.
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