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News Release

State of New Mexico Indian Affairs Department 

The New Mexico Indian Affairs Department’s (IAD) Indigenous Youth Council (IYC) convened the Second Annual Youth Wellness Summit, "Being a Good Relative." Planned in collaboration with Honoring Native Life (HNL) and the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department Indigenous Youth Council, the summit convenes Indigenous youth from across the state to acquire mental health-related resiliency tools and strategies and identify mental health needs and priorities particular to Indigenous youth. The in-person summit was held June 17-18, 2022, with participants ranging from ages 16-25.

“Addressing Indigenous youth mental and behavioral health continues to be a priority for the Indian Affairs Department and the Indigenous Youth Council,” said Indian Affairs Department Cabinet Secretary Lynn Trujillo. “The Lujan Grisham administration continues to listen and support Indigenous youth voices. The Youth Wellness Summit provides another opportunity to learn how to best serve our young people.”

Pictured: Lt. Governor Howie Morales stopped by on day 1 (June 17) to share a few words of encouragement to Summit attendees. Left to right: IYC member Alysia Coriz, IYC member Jeremy Begay, Lt. Governor Morales, IYC member Trinity Roybal.

Pictured: Lt. Governor Howie Morales stopped by on day 1 (June 17) to share a few words of encouragement to Summit attendees. Left to right: IYC member Alysia Coriz, IYC member Jeremy Begay, Lt. Governor Morales, IYC member Trinity Roybal.

In early 2021, the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department and the Indigenous Youth Council partnered with Honoring Native Life to develop and execute the inaugural Indigenous statewide Youth Wellness Summit. Created in 2011, Honoring Native Life serves as a clearinghouse for Native American suicide prevention and is housed at the University of New Mexico Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Division of Community Behavioral Health. The clearinghouse provides culturally appropriate suicide prevention assistance to the state's Native American community and has historically held annual suicide prevention conferences for youth.

“Honoring Native Life values our partnership with New Mexico Indian Affairs Department and the Indigenous Youth Council. This partnership has proven to be effective in our collective mission to address mental health and wellbeing in our tribal communities, and particularly with our Indigenous youth,” said Honoring Native Life Program Manager Teresa Gomez. “Our theme for this event, “Being a Good Relative” focuses on the intergenerational and environmental relationships of our communities, and how we can be good relatives to each other and our environment. We recognize that our mental health and wellbeing is integrally tied to the land and our relationships. Nurturing these relationships supports youth engagement and connection as we address the public health epidemic of suicide and supports healing community wide.”

“Indigenous youth need to be at the forefront when discussing difficult topics such as mental and behavioral health,” said Indigenous Youth Council member Trinity Roybal. “During the summit we are working together to identify ways to be a good relative to one another while at the same time learning new skills and tools to take back to our tribal communities.”

The Indigenous Youth Council - Youth Wellness Summit: 'Being A Good Relative' was held June 17-18, 2022.

The Indigenous Youth Council - Youth Wellness Summit: 'Being A Good Relative' was held June 17-18, 2022.

The Indigenous Youth Wellness Summit results from numerous calls by tribal leadership and youth to improve access to behavioral and mental health services and resources both in and outside of tribal communities. As New Mexico begins its recovery from the COVID pandemic, the Indigenous Youth Council has been leading elevating the voice of the youth asking how can the state support Indigenous youth during this transition, the resounding theme of the youth’s responses were mental health related. This summit will serve as a catalyst in making instrumental change for Indigenous youth and their holistic wellness.

For more information on the Indigenous Youth Council, please visit iad.iyc@state.nm.us.

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