Sault Ste Marie Tribe Chippewa

Sault Ste Marie Tribe Chippewa
Garrett Lee Smith Tribal

The purpose of the Sault Tribe Alive Youth (STAY) Project is to develop and implement a tribal youth suicide and early intervention plan for the eastern and central Upper Peninsula of Michigan, to help our youth stay alive. The STAY Plan will be based on the National Suicide Prevention Plan but will be customized to address the unique needs of Native youth in a rural setting and reflect the significant Native American population of the region.

Suicide is a preventable tragedy which has, unfortunately, impacted our tribal community across the eastern and central Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We have experienced suicide clusters among our young people. The seven counties our tribal service area have a suicide rate for 2006 of 17.4 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to the State of Michigan suicide rate of 11.2 for the same time period and the national rate of 10.8. Clearly, our region is in need of help.

Our Tribe has recognized the need to work with our tribal and non-tribal stakeholders to develop and implement broad-based, culturally competent suicide prevention and early intervention programming. Our stakeholders are called the Seven Feathers Partnership Board and include representation from elected leaders and policy-makers; schools including higher education institutions; health care providers including mental health and substance abuse; community agencies and organizations; the juvenile justice system, the foster care system; and the spiritual and faith-based healers.

The focus populations of our program are: (1) Native American youth ages 10-18, (2) Native American youth ages 18-24, (3) Teacher education students attending our regional colleges and universities and likely to become teachers of our youth, and (4) Parents and family members of our youth.

The STAY Project goals and objectives align with the national strategies and the Suicide Prevention Plan for Michigan. We are working hard to increase our community�s leadership capacity. Our Seven Feathers Partnership Board has identified and is in the process of addressing barriers which are preventing youth from accessing mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention services.