Chippewa Cree Tribe

Youth Suicide Prevention Project
Garrett Lee Smith Tribal

The Chippewa Cree Tribe (CCT) Cultural Support Services (CCS) Youth Suicide Prevention Project (YSPP), hereafter referred to as YSPP, will employ evidence-based, culturally-appropriate, tribal youth suicide prevention and early intervention strategies that are grounded in public/private collaboration to reduce the incidence of suicide among at-risk, American Indian youth, ages 13-17, on Rocky Boys Indian Reservation, located in northern Montana.

This project is based on the premise that suicide and suicidal behavior are preventable. Inspired by the public health model that takes a proactive and holistic approach, this project will successfully reduce factors known to contribute to suicide by youth and strengthen factors known to help protect them against suicide. These approaches are intended to do more than help young people choose life. They will also help them choose to live their life well – full of hope in themselves, their culture, and their community.

The goal of this project is to reduce the incidence of suicide by creating a prevention-prepared community where Chippewa Cree Tribal members, families, schools, workplaces, and the community at large take action to prevent and reduce mental illness and substance abuse across the lifespan. YSPP measurable objectives include 1) implementation of American Indian Life Skills Development, an evidence-based practice that includes cultural education and activities, to at least 60 American Indian youth ages 13-17; 2) provision of at least 30 suicide education outreach sessions during established community events for the purpose of retaining and/or increasing participation in, and access to, treatment or prevention services to American Indian youth ages 13-17; and 2) enhancement of the CCT CSS Suicide Prevention Plan, as guided by the SAMHSA-endorsed To Live To See The Great Day That Dawns: Preventing Suicide by American Indian and Alaska Native Youth and Young Adults.

YSPP primary population of focus is youth ages 13-17, of whom approximately 98% are of American Indian descent, with 89% qualifying for free or reduced lunch, 58% of their families live below the poverty level (historical seasonal unemployment rates higher than 70%). A combined high school graduation rate is 58.8%, compared to a 94% graduation rate for the State of Montana. Risk factors (clinical characteristics) include history of alcohol and substance abuse, feelings of hopelessness, impulsive or aggressive tendencies, isolation, and loss (relational, social, work, or financial).