Crow Creek Sioux Tribe Youth Suicide Prevention program’s focus population is youth aged 13 to 21 living on the Crow Creek Reservation. During the last thirty years, the Crow Creek Tribe has experienced a high suicide rate that has had a devastating and demoralizing impact on the community, leaving service providers almost totally overwhelmed. Buffalo County, in which most of the population of the reservation lives, had a suicide rate of 49.2 per 100,000 population from 1980 to 2001, the highest rate in South Dakota and well over the national figure. By comparison, the state’s rate during this period was 13.5 and the national figure was 10.8. Depression, violence, and physical and sexual abuse are far too common and show no signs of abating — the people are in despair. Unfortunately, the Tribe’s extreme poverty severely limits its ability to address the situation.
The goals and objectives of the project are as follows: 1) Promote suicide awareness in the community through a public information campaign to increase public knowledge and expanded suicide awareness in the school system; 2) Develop effective prevention and intervention services through community-based suicide prevention and improving services to people who have been affected by suicide; and 3) Enhance service provider capabilities by increasing collaboration among local partners, improving local data management techniques, and increasing capabilities of local partners involved in suicide
The Crow Creek Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention Program has programming that is designed specifically throughout the year in 3 phases:
1. During the summer months of June, July & August, the program offers Peers Helping Peers which targets youth ages 12 to 21 years of age with a target population of 200 youth. The youth are given education and skills training in various areas of high risk behavior. The youth are than required to reach out to 10 of their friends or peers. Included in the outreach is a tribal youth survey, questionnaire and other required forms. The participants in the Peers Helping Peers are given a $200 incentive for their participation.
2. During the school year there is a weekly after school program called Natural Helpers in which targets 100 youth who are challenged to address the problems of youth in school, in homes and in the community. Each participant receives $20 for participation.
3. During the holiday season the grant runs a program called SAFE House. 8 people are hired and trained and they provide a safe environment over the holiday season for youth to come to. This program provides a safe place away from drinking in their homes or in the community.