Pyramid Lake Paiute

Program Name:  Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe
Grant Type:  Garrett Lee Smith Tribal
Grant Status:  Alumni
Year Awarded:  2011
State:  Nevada

This SAMHSA funded project supports, expands, and enhances suicide prevention efforts within the 3 communities of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation. The proposed objectives build on suicide prevention activities completed by the Pyramid Lake Suicide Prevention Task Force and the Pyramid Lake Meth and Suicide Prevention Initiative over the last 5 years. This grant would allow the Tribe to take the next step in suicide prevention by expanding the community-based suicide prevention program.

Dr. Charles W. Grim, Director of Indian Health stated in a speech before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, that Suicide is not a single problem; rather it is a single response to multiple problems. Neither is it a strictly clinical or individual problem, but one that affects and is affected by entire communities.? This holds true in Indian Country.

Nevada has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation, consistently ranking in the top 5. Suicide also deeply affects Tribes in Nevada. Between 1999 and 2007, suicide was the third leading cause of death for Native Americans and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) age 10-44 living in Nevada, resulting in 35 deaths. While the number of deaths is small and caution must be exercised when drawing conclusions, the crude rate and age-adjusted rate for Nevada AI/AN is nearly double the all U.S. rate for the same age group.

While data sources for suicide are limited for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Police Department statistics are available. Between 2004 and 2010, the Police Department responded to 21 calls relating to suicide on the Reservation. This number only represents suicidal incidents when authorities were notified, it is likely that the actual number of suicide events (ideation, attempts, and completions) is much higher.

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe recognizes suicide is a serious public health on the Reservation and is committed to reducing the incidence of suicide by supporting suicide prevention efforts among Native youth by achieving the following:

  • Completing a community needs assessment to identify primary prevention needs;
  • Increasing the capacity of Health Clinic staff to identify youth at risk of suicide, linking youth to resources;
  • Building capacity of students at Natchez Elementary and Pyramid Lake Jr./Sr. High School to deal with stressful situations by implementing a life skills building curriculum.
  • Drafting a comprehensive, culturally appropriate suicide prevention plan to include sustainability measures which will ensure objectives are continued after the funding period; and
  • Improving suicide data collection efforts of the Pyramid Lake Tribal Health Clinic and other Tribal Departments.