Native Youth Wellness Initiative
The Native Youth Wellness Initiative is both a local and State-wide prevention program. It encompasses direct suicide prevention activities that target high-risk urban American Indian and Alaska Native youth, ages 10-24, in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as blanketing the State of Californiaâ€‖s Native population with suicide prevention information. The goals of this program center around reduction of suicide completion and attempts through providing culturally appropriate direct services including training of gatekeepers, implementation of mental health screenings within primary care couple with referral to mental health screenings within primary care coupled with referral to mental health therapy, providing opportunities to support protective factors known to aid in the prevention of suicide and promotion of community-based, participatory social media activities that highlight awareness of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. The Native American Health Center has provided medical care, mental health, and substance abuse services to Native American families and their children for over 25 years. Programming is based on a cultural framework that links services, treatment and prevention in a holistic approach that is congruent with Native American values and traditions. In more recent years, the Native American Health Center has incorporated youth prevention services in order to address the specific needs of young Native people. The Native Youth Wellness Initiative will expand on existing prevention efforts to enact a community-focused, culturally specific suicide prevention program for local Native youth. The Native American Health Center has also been working on the State level to address mental health disparities among American Indian and Alaska Natives as well as bring forward messaging to Native women about alcohol and drug use. This work will provide the infrastructure in order to effectively deliver a social media campaign regarding suicide prevention. The Native American Health Center proposes to screen 200 youth in the primary care settings resulting in referrals of all youth demonstrating suicide risk to behavioral health care services and 25 of youth receiving mental health treatment on an annual basis. Further, the Native Youth Wellness Initiative will train 10 gatekeepers, mobilize a culturally competent social media initiative that targets 500 Native American youth with appropriate suicide messaging across the State; and will maximize known protective factors by providing opportunities for youth to feel connected to family and culture. Expected outcomes from the Native Youth Wellness Initiative include: increased number of individuals trained in youth suicide prevention, increased number of Native youth exposed to suicide prevention messages, increased number of Natives that are knowledgeable of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, increased number of opportunities that youth have to feel connected to family and culture, increased number of youth suicide assessments, and increase in utilization of mental health services by the most at-risk Native youth.