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New Project Focused on Preventing Suicide and Substance Use among Native Youth

Dec. 14, 2016

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The Seattle Indian Health Board is excited to announce the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently awarded us a grant to create a community driven, Indigenous wellness approach to preventing and reducing suicide and substance use among our Native youth in King County. Critical to the success of this project, the All My Relations community partners include Chief Seattle Club, Red Eagle Soaring, the Seattle Public School District Huchoosedah Native Education Program and a consultant from the Northwest Two-Spirit Society. The All My Relations project will promote the well-being of urban American Indian/Alaska Native (Al/AN) youth and young adults under the age of 24 by using trauma-informed, integrated health care, and traditionally Native perspectives throughout the project activities.

The All My Relations project will use three strategic tiers of focus to implement activities both for all AI/AN youth in King County and for those with higher risks for suicidal behavior and/or substance misuse.

The first tier uses more universal prevention strategies aimed at all urban AI/AN youth including:

  • Designing a culturally responsive model of care specifically for AI/AN youth,
  • Developing a public awareness campaign to promote Indigenous wellness and reduce stigma,
  • Increasing youth resiliency and strengths through a Gathering of Native Americans (GONA) community event.

The second tier uses selective prevention strategies focused on subgroups of AI/AN youth with higher than average substance misuse or suicidal behaviors including:

  • Strengthening the information and referral linkages across systems of care,
  • Ensuring high-risk youth are knowledgeable of, and connected to culturally appropriate services.

The third tier of intervention concentrates on indicated prevention strategies for those AI/AN youth who have a history of self-harm through attempted suicide and/or substance misuse. For this tier the single objective is ensuring follow-up care and culturally sensitive postvention protocol.

The All My Relations project will be working with community partners and SIHB staff to implement these three tiers of strategies using a holistic wellness system that incorporates the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual components of health for AI/AN youth. The project is in the planning phases to start and is currently recruiting for a Project Coordinator to lead this important work. Please check out the job opportunity on the SIHB Careers webpage and forward to anyone with a passion for serving youth who may be interested in applying.

All My Relations is a five-year project funded for a total of $1,000,000; including subcontracts to our partner organizations and consultants (funding provided by SAMHSA Native Connections grant #1H79SM063513-01).