Crow Creek Sioux Tribe

Garrett Lee Smith Tribal
South Dakota

The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe of South Dakota is submitting a grant request for federal assistance to the Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administrative for Cooperative Agreements for State-Sponsored Youth Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention.  The Tribe is requesting $479,300 for the first year of the project, and $1,429,489 over the course of the three-year project.  Funding will be used to enhance the activities and services now being provided through the Tribe’s current SAMHSA suicide prevention program.  This will enable the Tribe to reach a broader target population and fulfill the objectives of its suicide prevention plan.  The target population of this program is youth aged 12 to 24 living on the Crow Creek Reservation.

During the last 30 years, the Crow Creek Tribe has experienced a very high suicide rate that has had devastating and demoralizing impact on the community, leaving service providers overwhelmed.  Buffalo County, in which most of the population of the reservation lives, had a suicide rate of 49.2 per 100,000 population from 1980 to 2001, by far the highest rate in South Dakota and well over the national figure.  By comparison, the state’s rate during this period was 13.5 and the national figure was 10.8.

The Tribe’s current suicide prevention program has had a very positive impact on the youth, but much more needs to be done.  Depression, violence, substance abuse, and physical and sexual abuse are still common – the people are in despair.  Unfortunately, the Tribe’s extreme poverty severely limits its ability to address the situation, and those working toward prevention are getting tired and are wearing out, their emotions stretched to the limit.

The goals and objectives of the project include enhancing suicide awareness in the community and in the school system, enhancing and expanding effective prevention and intervention services, improving access to services for people who have been affected by suicide, enhancing service provider capabilities, enhancing collaboration among stakeholder groups, improving local data management techniques, and increasing capabilities of local partners involved in suicide prevention.

The project will advance the goals and objectives laid out in the Tribe’s suicide prevention plan, as well as those in the South Dakota Strategy for Suicide Prevention.  Federal aid will enable the Crow creek Tribe to enhance and expand its existing suicide prevention strategies, and to lay the groundwork for future sustainability.  It is truly a situation where federal funding can directly save lives.