Mescalero Apache School

Mescalero Apache Schools
Garrett Lee Smith Tribal
New Mexico

The Honor Your Life Program is school and community based and features the following efforts:

1.Gatekeeper Training: The goal is to train school and community staff to recognize someone at risk for suicide, intervene with those at risk, and refer them to an appropriate resource

.2.Natural Helpers: The Natural Helpers program is a peer helping program based on the premise that students go to their friends for help and advice with problems. This program is designed to increase helping skills of youth who are identified as the helpers by their peers.

3.SOS curriculum: The program teaches students how to identify the symptoms of depression and suicidality in themselves or their friends, and encourages help-seeking through the use of the ACT® technique (Acknowledge, Care, Tell). Through the use of modeling, youth are taught to recognize the signs of distress, in either themselves or a friend, and to respond effectively.

4.Native H.O.P.E.: Native H.O.P.E. is a peer-counseling (youth helping youth) curriculum that focuses on suicide prevention and the related risk-factors such as substance abuse, violence, trauma, and depression. This curriculum is a 4-day retreat that includes a one day training of trainers. This is a strengths-based approach that incorporates culture, spirituality, and humor, as well as, awareness and education of the warning signs of suicide.

5.Social Networking Early Intervention: In rural communities, and especially for families without reliable transportation, social networking sites are common venues where a community stays connected. It is also a place where young people spend a majority of their time writing themselves into being and it can be a place to early intervene as many youth express themselves openly on their profiles. Through our consistent use of these social networking sites, we have successfully prevented the loss of life to suicide through our early intervention efforts to identify youth at risk and those who express suicidal concerns on their profiles.

6.Youth Leadership: In an effort to restore hope and a sense of purpose for the future, we have made a strong effort to promote leadership development among Mescalero youth through the following events: Native Wellness Institutes’ Native Youth Leadership Academy, Udall Foundation & Native Nations Institute’s Youth Governance and Entrepreneur Camps, Native H.O.P.E., and the Close-Up Program Where Students Experience Democracy In Action.