Cankdeska Cikana Community College

Wiconi Ohitika Project
Garrett Lee Smith Tribal
North Dakota

The Wiconi Ohitika Youth Suicide Prevention Project, serving youth on the Spirit Lake Nation, is a culturally enriched approach to youth suicide prevention, based on the culture, language, values and history of the Spirit Lake Dakota (Mni Wakan Oyate), promoting positive self-identity, increased self-esteem, and increased knowledge of the Dakota way of life. Its primary purpose is to provide suicide prevention education that will save lives and help survivors of suicide recover from tragic loss.

Wiconi Ohitika’s four goals, with objectives, are:

Goal 1: Increased awareness of suicide, its risk factors, protective factors and suicide prevention.

  1. Increased awareness by community of suicide prevention and related activities
  2. Reduced stigma regarding behavioral health issues

Goal 2. Increased identification of youth at risk, referral to appropriate resources, and follow-up.

  1. 75 Professionals annually with increased capacity to identify youth and risk and refer to appropriate services
  2. Organizations and professionals using the Crisis Response Plan, including its protocol, Referral Forms & Release of information

Goal 3. Increased youth, family, and community engagement.

  1. 125 youth with increased skills (15 in Year 1, 40 in Year 2, and 60 in Year 3)
  2. 600 Community members with increased sense of health and wellness
  3. 200 community members with increased knowledge about the Dakota culture

Goal 4. Effective and efficient program implementation and sustainability.

  1. Program managed effectively
  2. Consultants in place and effectively supporting program development
  3. Community Suicide Prevention coalition actively engaged in prevention activities
  4. Maintenance of Spirit Lake Nation Suicide Prevention Plan
  5. Participate in Youth Interagency Committee
  6. Take a leadership role in state and regional coalitions
  7. Dissemination of information guided by a Communication Plan
  8. Determine community readiness and needs
  9. Improve and update Surveillance plan
  10. Data available in a timely fashion for program improvement

Activities designed to meet project objectives and goals are intended to address indicated, selective, and universal populations across different levels of the social ecology. The strategies were selected to meet the project’s goals and objectives: Awareness Activities-PSAs, videos, Sources of Strength; Community engagement–Suicide Prevention Coalition, Gatekeeper Training (QPR, ASIST), and Youth American Indian Life Skills, Sources of Strength, and Cultural Activities. Strategies were selected based on whether they were evidence based and culturally appropriate for American Indian youth, their families, and their community.