Native American Rehabilitation Association of NW (NARA)

Program Name:  Life is Sacred
Grant Type:  Garrett Lee Smith Tribal
Grant Status:  Alumni
Year Awarded:  2011
State:  Oregon

Life is Sacred (formerly known as the Native Youth Suicide Prevention Program) began in the Fall of 2005 upon the receipt of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  The applicant, Native American Rehabilitation Association, Northwest (NARA) was the only American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) grantee the first year.  Today, NARA is requesting a three-year grant to continue its quest to reach out and influence the lives of Native boys and girls throughout Oregon.

Life is Sacred (LIS) proposes to fortify its Oregon suicide prevention network, which connects nine Tribes, one university and a large urban Indian population, by using evidence-based practices to prevent suicides in Native youth between the ages of 10-24.  LIS will also expand the targeted population to include Native LGBT youth in the four-county Portland metropolitan area.  The purpose of this initiative is to reduce risk factors for, and promote protective factors against, American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth suicide.

For the past six years, Native communities throughout Oregon have implemented a wide range of innovative products and activities—from trainings to cultural activities aimed at building protective factors in youth, to collecting data on youth early identified as being at risk for suicide.  This foundation has created a network of professionals connected to evidence-based training and culturally significant activities aimed at identifying, supporting, and treating at risk Native youth.  This “network” will be enhanced by:  adding more QPR and ASIST trained individuals from various walks of life who come in contact with Native youth where they live, go to school and recreate; developing a policy and protocol “menu” Tribal representatives can use to build consistent practice from community to community; using internet video technology to bring a child psychiatrist into the offices of rural professionals and Tribal leaders providing weekly consultation to communities that have little or no mental health resources; adding two new evidence-based practices—Project Venture and American Indian Life Skills—both Native specific prevention and intervention programs new to the Portland metropolitan area; and by sponsoring a Native Youth Conference for 400 students in year three of the grant.  This conference will emphasize QPR youth training and peer/individual/family and community level protective factors in multi-day workshops and keynote presentations.

LIS will touch the lives of each youth associated with a reservation, or with communities in the four-county metropolitan Portland area, or with Portland State University’s United Indian Students in Education by directly serving approximately 270 youth a year, or 800 Native youth over the three years of the grant.