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Resources for Native American and Alaska Native Populations

Suicide rates are up to three times higher among Indigenous Native American and Alaska Native people than among any other racial or ethnic group in the United States. Sovereignty, community control or autonomy, cultural identification, language, spirituality, healing ways, kinship models, and family connectedness are all important protective factors in addressing high rates of suicide among Indigenous populations.

An understanding that Indigenous people are not a homogenous group should be one of the most important drivers to consider for health and behavioral health care programs and services promoting suicide-safe care in Native American and Alaska Native communities. Screening, treatment and follow-up interventions should be designed based on the specific issues affecting each group of interest. They should be culturally-relevant, involve the most appropriate community Elders, Traditional Healers, and other important people, and consider factors such as attitudes toward death and suicide, mental health and substance use challenges, and help-seeking behavior. See featured resources and search for others specific to Native American and Alaska Native people below.

For more in-depth information and resources, check out our supplementary toolkit:

Resources 1 - 15 of 22

Treat | Readings

Nebelkopf, E., & King, J. (2003). A holistic system of care for Native Americans in an urban environment. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 35(1), 43-52.

Treat | Readings

Bigfoot, D. S., & Schmidt, S. R. (2010). Honoring children, mending the circle: cultural adaptation of trauma‐focused cognitive‐behavioral therapy for American Indian and Alaska Native children. Journal of clinical psychology,66(8), 847-856.

Treat | Readings

Beckstead, D. J., Lambert, M. J., DuBose, A. P., & Linehan, M. (2015). Dialectical behavior therapy with American Indian/Alaska Native adolescents diagnosed with substance use disorders: Combining an evidence based treatment with cultural, traditional, and spiritual beliefs. Addictive behaviors,51, 84-87. 

Transition | Readings

This two-page fact sheet features a strengths-based intervention that identifies the needs of youth and the goals that the youth and his or her family will work towards with the assistance of the…

Engage | Tools

This manual is intended to make motivational interviewing easy to learn and use in practice with Native American clients. This client-centered counseling approach provides strategies to enhance an…

Treat | Videos

Esther Tenorio, Project Director, Katishtya Embraces Youth Wellness and Hope (KEYWAH), San Felipe Pueblo, discusses aligning evidence-based programs with Indigenous ways of life.

Lead | Videos

Dr. Donald Warne discusses Integrating clinical and community-based services to prevent suicide in Indian Country.

Lead | Readings

In this interview from The Rural Monitor, Dr. Don Warne touches on some of the root causes of the health disparities affecting American Indian communities and the importance of focusing…

Lead | Videos

Lived Experience expert Diana Cortez-Yanez relates the care she received that made a positive impact on her recovery.

Train | Tools

Adapted by the THRIVE project at the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, this document can help all types of organizations understand their Zero Suicide Workforce Survey results.…

Transition | Tools

The Puyallup Tribal Health Authority developed a caring letter template that includes caring phrases in the Puyallup language with English translations. These culturally appropriate caring…

Transition | Tools

The Chickasaw Nation has shared sample caring contact cards that include a message in the Chickasaw language. Youth and adult examples are included.

Lead | Tools

American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations are at higher risk for suicide than other ethnic and racial groups, with youth and young adults being particularly at risk. Studies have found…

Train | Tools
The Zero Suicide Workforce Survey contains skills and knowledge-based queries for providing suicide-safer care based on the Zero Suicide framework for health and behavioral health care settings…
Lead | Tools

11 steps for getting started with Zero Suicide for those working in Tribal and IHS-led systems.