A full journey for a good healthy life takes 102 winters, according to Navajo origin stories. The IHS has launched a new bilingual suicide prevention campaign based on that idea: Iiná Ayóó’ííní’ní, or Love Your Life 102.
The suicide rate among American Indians and Alaska Native (AI/AN) young adults is 1.5 times greater than that of the national average. Among AI/AN children, adolescents, and young adults, suicide is the second leading cause of death.
The new campaign aims to connect young people with behavioral health care on the Navajo Nation. It uses modern media to share traditional Navajo teachings of honoring life and aspiring to the full 102 winters. Navajo young people tell their stories through online videos, billboards, and posters that share resources for support and help.
One of those posters features Lyn Thomas, a veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and has posttraumatic stress disorder. “All that you’ve been through makes left and right turns that lead you to love your family, yourself, and your life,” he is quoted on the poster. His story, highlighted on the IHS.gov YouTube channel (https://youtu.be/IFFrV7g_JEc), tells of his journey from trauma to healing.