Government and Regulations

Weaving a Safety Net to Protect Against Suicide

As part of the Suicide Prevention Program, IHS has announced 118 awards of more than $13 million to prevent methamphetamine use and suicide in AI/AN communities.


 

Despite the strengths of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) families and communities, IHS says, suicide remains a devastating and all-too-frequent event. Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in the AI/AN community across all ages; the AI/AN youth suicide rate is more than twice that of the national average.

Related: Native Americans at Risk

The IHS Suicide Prevention Program is intended to help 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 protect against suicide risk. As part of that effort, IHS has announced 118 awards of more than $13 million to prevent methamphetamine use and suicide in AI/AN communities.

Related: SAMHSA Awards Funds for Tribal Youth Programs

The awards build on a recently completed, nationally coordinated 6-year pilot project that funded 130 health programs through the Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative (MSPI), which promotes the use and development of evidence-based and practice-based models that represent culturally appropriate prevention and treatment approaches. During the first 5 years of the pilot program, MSPI provided treatment services for more than 9,000 individuals and trained more than 13,000 professionals and community members in suicide crisis response.

Related: “Suicide Safe” Mobile App Fills a Gap

The National Congress of American Indians (the oldest and largest national organization of AI/AN tribal governments) has also called for a Native Hope for Life Day, or Suicide Prevention Awareness Day.

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