University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota
Garrett Lee Smith Campus
North Dakota

The American Indian Suicide Prevention Program at the University of North Dakota (UND) is a two-phase program that will develop a circle of care model for suicide prevention. The first phase will be development and integration at UND and the second phase will be the application of the model to tribal colleges in North Dakota. The circle of care model provides linkages to and from the reservations and UND, to exchange information with the suicide prevention coordinators and IHS mental health contacts. The tribal contacts will inform the campus crisis team of traumatic events that occur on the reservations to activate campus support services. The crisis team reciprocates by relaying traumatic campus incidents to the reservations so families can provide support. A steering committee, consisting of the American Indian Crisis Team, project staff, UND officials, tribal liaisons, tribal college representatives and AI students from each ND reservation (and two at-large) will assist in the-development and future modifications, The model at UND will include education and training for: the crisis team members, interested community members, and American Indian students. The curriculum includes: identifying signs of suicidal behavior, developing skills to de-escalate situations, learning stress-reduction techniques and problem solving skills, and acquiring knowledge of resources and support services, such as counseling. The trainings, for AI students, will be incorporated into the currently-offered workshops and seminars about school success and student retention. The training material is from the LaFromboise Adolescent Life Skills Curriculum and will be adapted to be culturally appropriate for tribes in North Dakota. In addition, Mental Health First Aid training will be implemented in the campus community in year one of the project (and at tribal colleges in year two and year three). The Mental Health First Aid training was created specifically for the non-mental health professional to: recognize signs of mental health problems, de-escalate situations, assess risk for suicide, and help individuals’ access resources while receiving emotional support. Personnel from the Center for Rural Health at UND will facilitate the training program. The University will offer unique cultural components to students who are in need of support by: creating a sweatlodge, offering ceremonial activities on campus, and providing access to a spiritual advisor as part of the circle of services. The project will beevaluated from three primary sources of data: interviews with the program staff, self-report data from students who have contact with the program, and demographic records. The intention of this evaluative process is to provide data that will facilitate improvement and revisions to the program by assessing how the program’s processes work, and the impact it is having upon the students. The data collection and analysis of findings will be on-going throughout the years, and integrated within the standard functioning of the program. This formative evaluation will detail the refine the model, and make it applicable to other campuses.