A comprehensive list of resources in the battle for suicide prevention

CDC: U.S. Suicide Rates for American Indians / Alaska Natives is 16.9 compared to U.S. rate of 12.1 per 100,000

This article has been edited. Previously ICT reported that U.S. Suicide Rates for American Indians / Alaska Natives is 16.9% compared to U.S. rate of 12.1% - that figure is incorrect. The Suicide Rates for American Indians / Alaska Natives is 16.9 in 100,000 as compared to U.S. rate of 12.1 per 100,000.

Associate Editors note: If you are suffering in any way or hurting and feel if there is nowhere to turn, please reach out the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The site offers an 800 number that can be called 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you wish, you can also visittheir websitefor a live chat. Grief, sadness and depression are real afflictions, but they are temporary. Suicide is permanent. Please reach out first and blessings and prayers to those who are struggling.

September is National Recovery Month. Accordingly, every September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA, works along with other mental health organizations to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover.

Additionally, September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day.

In recognition of the month and day on September 10th, Indian Country Today is recognizing efforts that help those affected by suicide and associated efforts to assist people to fight it within their communities.

It will not come as much of a surprise to the Native communities involved who have had to answer a frantic call from a family that a Native youth has taken their life that suicide is what some communities are calling a regional and national crisis.

Statistics from the past decade and more have long supported the communities assertions. According to the CDC, Suicide was the eighth leading cause of death for American Indians/Alaska Natives of all ages and the second leading cause of death among youth ages 1024.

There is a bit of a surprise in that the AI/AN rate decreases significantly after early adulthood in contrast to the rate in the overall. According to the CDC:

Despite the general decline in suicide rates as the AI/AN population ages, a recent CDC study found that AI/AN men and women ages 3564 had a greater percentage increase in suicide rates between 1999 and 2011 than any other racial/ethnic group. Suicide Rates of American Indian/Alaska Native Men and Women Ages 3564 U.S. population, which increases with age.

Another perhaps unknown factor is the wide variation of suicide rates among tribes, the also CDC cites the following:

For example, the rate found among the White Mountain Apache people was much higher (45.4 per 100,000) than among all American Indians/Alaska Natives (13.93 per 100,000) in the same time period of 20012006. The suicide rate for White Mountain Apache youth ages 1524 (128.5 per 100,000) was much higher than the rate for all AI/AN youth of the same ages in the same time period (24.62 per 100,000).

In the years 20032006, Alaska Natives had a suicide rate of 51.4, compared to 16.9 in the non-Native Alaska population. However, there was considerable variation in the suicide rates of Natives among the different regions of the state and the different Native ethnic groups, with the Inupiat Eskimos having the highest rates, and the Aleuts having a rate lower than the rest of Alaska.

Additionally, the CDC reports that in In 20122013 several troubling statistics:

  • Young adult males aged 1824 were more likely than young adult females to commit suicide.
  • The suicide rate was highest in the AI/AN population for both males and females (34.3 and 9.9 deaths per 100,000 population, respectively).
  • AI/AN males were more than twice as likely to commit suicide as most other gender and racial and ethnic subgroups.
  • Suicide rates for AI/AN young adults are likely to be underestimated; a previous study found that deaths overall for the AI/AN population were underreported by 30%.

So what efforts are working?

Indian Country Today has researched and compiled a list of resources and suggestions for best practices in supporting people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. We are citing the following crises organizations to include the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, the Indian Health Service Suicide Prevention and Care Program, the Bureau of Indian Affairs page on Suicide Prevention, American Indian and Alaska Native Health and the Substance Abuse and the Mental Health Services Administration.

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Native resources:

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline webpage dedicated to Native Americans, recognizes the fact that depression and suicide affect people of all ages and populations, but Native American and Alaskan Native populations can be at a higher risk.

The site offers an 800 number that can be called 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) they even offer a live chat online.

The also suggest ways to take care of yourself if you are suffering which includes:

Talk to someone

Make a safety plan

Build your support network

Find an activity you enjoy

And ways to help someone who is suffering to include:

Know the facts

Ask and Listen

Get them help and take care of yourself

They also offers links to the following resources:

Suicide Prevention: Indian Health Service

Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute

We R Native

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Website:

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center cites suicide prevention as a high priority for people working to promote wellness and reduce health disparities affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The website states:

Drawing on strengths within Native traditions, community leaders and experts are developing models that are culturally based to promote mental health and prevent suicide for future generations.

The center also states the best practices for preventing suicide in Native communities is to use a culturally relevant, contextually driven,comprehensive approachthat includes these key components:

  • Promoteculturally competent practicesthat increase protective factors and reduce risk.
  • Connect the communitys resources to create a shared vision of wellness.
  • Gather information from Elders and community members to gain knowledge and understandthe issue of suicidein the community where you are working.

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center also offers nearly a hundred articles, online-accessible toolkits and suicide prevention plans available to the public. Many of their online content offers best practices in helping Native youth.

Indian Health Service Suicide Prevention and Care Program

Suicide prevention webpage:

As described on the IHS suicide-specific page, Despite the strengths of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) families and communities, suicide remains a devastating and all too frequent event...Cooperation among Tribal, Federal, and other partners is imperative to create a safety net of interconnected programming - health, education, law enforcement, public health and well-being, economic development, and physical and behavioral health - to maximize effectiveness of services and to protect individuals against suicide risk.

There are a number of resources available on their site page to include How to talk about suicide, resources, zero suicide initiative, Hope for Life Day Toolkit and much more.

Bureau of Indian Affairs

Suicide Prevention page -

The Bureau of Indian Affairs page on Suicide Prevention includes a long list of federal agencies, organizations, articles, training materials and resources on American Indian and Alaska Native suicide prevention.

We will list them here - further descriptions can be found on the BIA website.

Federal Resources

Indian Health Services (IHS) Division of Behavior Health

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Tribal Affairs

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center

American Indian and Alaska Native Organizations

Suicide Prevention Resource Center American Indian and Alaska Native Web site

Center for Native American Youth

One Sky Center

American Indian Institute at the University of Oklahoma

Suicide Prevention Organizations

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Suicide Prevention Best Practices and Evidence-Based Programs

Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention

National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices

American Indian and Alaska Native Suicide Prevention Publications and Resources

To Live to See the Great Day that Dawns: Preventing Suicide by American Indian and Alaska Native Youth and Young Adults

Restoring Balance-Community Readiness

Ensuring the Seventh Generation: A Youth Suicide Prevention Toolkit for Tribal Child Welfare Programs

Traditional Healing & Suicide Prevention in Native American Communities: Research & Policy Considerations

Northwest Suicide Prevention Tribal Action Plan

The American Indian and Alaska Native Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan 2011-2015

Suicide Prevention Resources for Schools

Preventing Suicide: A Tool Kit for High Schools

After a Suicide: A Tool Kit for Schools

American Indian and Alaska Native Health Suicide Awareness Page

This site is chiefly for researchers, health professionals, and educators looking for resources.

There is an impressive amount of information available to include journal citations, articles, traditional practices and more.

Resource links include:

Acting on What We Know: Preventing Youth Suicide in First Nations

American Indian/Alaska Native Suicide Prevention

American Indian/Alaska Native Teen Suicide Prevention

American Indian/Alaska Natives Suicide Fact Sheet

An AI/AN suicide prevention hotline: literature review and discussion with experts

Researcher Resources for Native American/Alaska Native Health and Suicide

Resources for Professional Providers

Suicide and Native Americans

Suicide Prevention and Native Americans

Suicide Prevention: Inuit Traditional Practices that Encouraged Resilience and Coping

To Live To See the Great Day That Dawns: Preventing Suicide by American Indian and Alaska Native Youth and Young Adults

Organizations for Native American/Alaska Native Health and Suicide

Planting Seeds of Hope

Depression in MedlinePlus

Suicide in MedlinePlus

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA

Tribal training and Technical Assistance Center

Suicide Prevention Resources

Find organizations, articles, and other resources that American Indian and Alaska Native Communities can use to strengthen suicide prevention efforts.

Suicide among American Indians/Alaska Natives

Provides information on suicide and risk and protective factors among American Indians and Alaska Natives

See more factsheets.

To Live to See the Great Day that Dawns

A culturally appropriate guide for empowering tribal youth and preventing suicide

See more manuals and toolkits.

Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC): American Indian/Alaska Native Settings

Turtle Island Native Network: Healing and Wellness

Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention

State of Alaska Suicide Prevention Website

Suicide Prevention Resource Center(link is external)

Suicide among Racial/Ethnic Populations in the U.S.: American Indians and Alaska Natives

Suicide Facts at a Glance

Aboriginal Youth: A Manual of Promising Suicide Prevention Strategies

Assessment and Planning Tool Kit for Suicide Prevention in First Nations Communities

Ensuring the Seventh Generation: A Youth Suicide Prevention Toolkit for Tribal Child Welfare Programs

The Northwest Suicide Prevention Tribal Action Plan (PDF | 443 KB)(link is external)

To Live To See the Great Day That Dawns: Preventing Suicide by American Indian and Alaska Native Youth

An American Indian and Alaska Native Suicide Prevention Hotline: Literature Review and Discussion with Experts

A College Suicide Prevention Model for American Indian Students

Continuity of Care for Suicide Prevention and Research 2011

Cultural Considerations in Adolescent Suicide Prevention and Psychosocial Treatment

Spirituality and Attempted Suicide Among American Indians

Towards the Development of a Nunavut Suicide Prevention Strategy: A Summary Report on the 2009 Community Consultations

Traditional Healing and Suicide Prevention in Native American Communities: Research and Policy Considerations

Help-Seeking Among Men: Implications for Suicide Prevention

The Role of Faith Communities in Preventing Suicide

Strategic Direction for the Prevention of Suicidal Behavior: Promoting Individual, Family, and Community Connectedness to Prevent Suicidal Behavior

Associate Editor note:

A few years ago, I made this video.

I saw other young people who have used note cards to make a video. I once struggled with depression after a sexual assault had happened to me and I considered taking my life. I thank the Creator I did not.

Stay with us Young Warriors - we need you here on this earth.

Music courtesy Michael Bucher

Follow Indian Country Todays associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter -@VinceSchilling

Email -vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com

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Also:

Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line (toll free) provides anonymous and confidential telephone counselling for northerners in crisis - 800-265-3333

http://www.nunavuthelpline.ca