Northwest Arctic Wellness Initiative (NAWI) is an intertribal Youth Suicide Prevention Cooperative Agreement between the Bering Strait Region and Northwest Arctic Borough of Alaska, with an aim to expand its tribal partnership statewide. NAWI primarily serves Alaska Native youth and young adults ages 10-24 in 27 villages located just above and below the Arctic Circle where the highest suicide Rates in Alaska and the nation have been reported. NAWI provides comprehensive, culturally relevant, training and intervention to create self-sufficient, sustainable, community-level suicide prevention, intervention and post-vention for Alaska Natives.
The Goals of NAWI are to:
- Expand NAWI to build a statewide collaborative partnership to advance, develop, and promote Alaska Native Suicide Prevention best practices.
- Increase youth wellness activities, mentor supports, and youth leadership to build positive relationship with peers, role models and elders in their community and throughout the region to decrease Alaska Native youth suicide.
- Increase youth and community dialogue to change the norms around suicide to something that can be prevented.
- Provide appropriate suicide intervention response, care and recovery activities for
Alaska Native young people in the Bering Straits Region (BSR) and Northwest Arctic Borough (NWAB). Through its multiple strategies, NAWI will reach approximately 3,600 individual school aged children and 2,275 village adults annually. Over the length of the funding period, the project will reach 4,150 unduplicated youth (including those who are beyond school age or are leave school) and 2,275 unduplicated adults.
Measurable outcomes include:
- Recruit and train Youth Leaders in the BSR and NWAB (162 Youth Leaders annually, 324 total),
- Provide training for youth and community members to create digital stories to share as a foundation for community conversations (7 village sites trained annually, 27 village sites total, 90 individuals annually, 450 individuals total).
- Provide school and community support through workshops in each village annually to promote prevention efforts (41 workshops annually, 205 workshops total, 1060 individuals per year, 3900 individuals total).
- Train village-based counselors (VBCs), who are Alaska Native community behavioral health workers serving their home villages, to implement monthly talking circles, community outreach, and cultural events that include messages of suicide prevention and awareness (324 total activities annually, 1620 total)