Northwest Indian College

Witness Our Future
Garrett Lee Smith Tribal

For every Youth a Witness~Tribal Suicide Prevention Vision Statement Coast Salish traditional beliefs, the role of witnesses is an essential part of collective, community process and healing. The Witnessing Our Future (WOF) Project will utilize this indigenous concept in a culturally-adapted implementation of the Model Adolescent Suicide Prevention Program (MASPP) with the Northwest Indian College (NWIC) and the Lummi Nation. This program will:

  1. Conduct a community-based, family-driven and youth-guided adaptation of the MASPP to fit within a Coast Salish cultural context;
  2. Utilize a promising practice in suicide prevention from Alaska to engage the community in an indigenous-theory driven intervention implementation process;
  3. Establish a suicide surveillance system with screening and referral services for youth at risk at the NWIC;
  4. Implement a community-wide, culturally-based preventive intervention for tribal youth;
  5. Evaluate outcomes of the services and prevention.

The WOF Project will utilize the infrastructure developed as part of the SAMHSA Lummi System of Care Initiative to accelerate and enhance suicide surveillance, prevention and clinical services goals. Preventive Surveillance – The NWIC Center for Health and the Lummi Nation, will establish a suicide surveillance system to assess the problem among the highest risk youth: the 207 tribal college students ages 18-24 attending any of the seven NWIC campuses, with the goal of increasing referrals for youth identified at risk, and also among those youth 18-24 residing on the Lummi reservation but not attending NWIC. Preventive Services – A community-based and culturally-informed adaptation of the MASPP will combine universal, selected and targeted strategies, in alignment with the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention to service the 721 Lummi enrolled youth between the ages of 10 and 24 years old. Our community prevention implementation strategies will model a promising practice from Alaska that has demonstrated positive outcomes for Yupik Alaska Native youth in the villages, by increasing reasons for life and protective resources. The WOF Project will implement screening and referral services for youth with highest suicide risk and other co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders and provide trainings and community awareness events for those in the NWIC and Lummi Nation communities. Training and awareness events will create a community-wide mobilization toward identification of those at risk and referral to appropriate behavioral and cultural health resources. Local evaluation efforts will assess the effects of the intervention on key outcomes goals and provide information vital to other tribal youth-serving agencies as to what individual, family and community-level factors best associate with achieving our tribal suicide prevention vision to have each youth connected to their culture, community and future.