Transforming Tribal Communities: Indigenous Perspectives on Suicide Prevention

Date: 2019
(For resources, this is the publication date. For programs, this is the date posted.)


Type:  Video/Audio Recording
Author:  Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)
Publisher:  Education Development Center, Inc (EDC)

Culturally relevant suicide prevention strategies that are endorsed by community members can lead to long-lasting change. The following six-to-eight-minute webinar clips, adapted from SPRC’s Tribal Community of Learning Series, feature expert advice on addressing the root causes of mental health issues and suicide in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities by drawing on community strengths.


Image of Rob Englad

Weaving Culture into Suicide Prevention Strategies

Rob England of the Yurok Tribe and United Indian Health Services, Inc., highlights the merits of weaving culture into evidence-based suicide prevention strategies to engage multiple generations of Native community members in prevention efforts that are effective and transformative.



Four Recommendations for Tribal Suicide Prevention

Dr. Melissa Walls of the Bois Forte and Couchiching First Nations Ojibwe discusses four recommendations for suicide prevention in AI/AN communities: assess the impact of structural influences on suicide; target early life course factors to improve outcomes; identify cultural influences on prevention; and listen to indigenous voices.                        


Honoring Culture and Building Partnerships

Panganga Pungowiyi describes how individual, community, and institutional partnerships, using a multi-pronged approach with a focus on capacity building, can help address the root causes of mental health issues and suicide and lead to long-lasting environmental and policy change.



Adapting Evidence-Based Practices in Tribal Communities

Esther Tenorio of the San Felipe Pueblo Health and Wellness Department and Dr. Deborah Altschul of the University of New Mexico discuss the process of working with AI/AN communities to select, modify, implement, and evaluate evidence-based practices to ensure cultural fit.



Additional Resources


Examples Presented by the Speakers

  • Ko’l Ho Koom’ Mo (Working Together) – This youth suicide prevention program takes a culturally competent, community-based approach to enhancing protective factors.
  • Family Spirit – This culturally tailored home visiting program promotes health and well-being for parents and their children.
  • The Eagala Model – The Eagala (Equine-Assisted Growth and Learning Association) Model incorporates horses into mental health treatment.
  • Promoting Community Conversations About Research to End Suicide (PC CARES) – This culturally adapted community health intervention designed, supported, and implemented by remote communities of Northwest Alaska includes many of the strategies mentioned in the webinar clips.