Cherokee Nation

Cherokee Nation HERO Project
Garrett Lee Smith Tribal

The Cherokee Nation HERO Project aims to serve American Indian youth ages 0-23 residing within the Cherokee Nation reservation by creation of Project Sunale: Working together to build a better tomorrow. Project goals include expanding and building upon work and efforts of previous funding to improve capacity, effectiveness and efficiency of suicide prevention services for American Indian youth in Oklahoma and by providing evidenced based interventions/practices to treat suicide by working to decrease prevalence and suicidal behaviors in Cherokee Nation. Evidence based practices including community, school-wide, and individual interventions to address higher than average suicide rates among Native youth in Oklahoma will be implemented. Measurable objectives include community level evidence based practices such as creation of a social marketing plan and training project staff in Youth Mental Health First Aid to be disseminated across the Cherokee Nation reservation. Furthermore, the project will implement two school-wide interventions: Olweus Bullying Prevention Program and Lifelines Suicide Prevention Program. Olweus Bullying Prevention Program will be implemented in 3 K-8th grade schools, and Lifelines Suicide Prevention Program will be implemented in 3 high schools. Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) will be implemented in identified school systems receiving a school-wide intervention. Clinical staff will be trained in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) to address suicidality in clients. It is projected the program will serve 960 individuals the first year, increasing by 120 each year, totaling 6,000 unduplicated individuals served over the lifetime of the grant.