Alaska Area Funded Projects 2009-2014
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium MSPI project focuses on generating a community-level response to suicide. The project began by promoting prevention awareness and added two intervention models within the Tribal Health System. A postvention workshop called SurvivorVoices has been introduced to share stories of suicide loss. The project responds to postvention requests throughout Alaska and has provided rural communities with substance abuse prevention trainings. Other events have supported prevention efforts for LGBT individuals and returning veterans.
Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, Inc.
The Aleutian Pribilof Islands MSPI project provides comprehensive substance abuse and mental health services including outpatient treatment, aftercare, outreach and prevention services including an integrated approach to meeting the needs of the clients and communities. Methamphetamine and suicide prevention and treatment for youth is provided in the communities through school-based activities, trainings for clinicians and counselors, and telebehavioral health services. The project also hosts educational activities with elders on the topic of suicide prevention and other sensitive behavioral health topics to improve awareness and reduce stigma.
Arctic Slope Native Association, Ltd.
The Arctic Slope MSPI project aims to establish a community-based suicide care structure through Community Protection Teams. The teams will use training in safeTALK and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) to help them identify and assess the risk factors that may lead to abuse, neglect, suicide, and other issues that arise. Through a partnership with North Slope Borough Schools, every staff member and student age 15 and older is now trained in safeTALK.
Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation
The Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation MSPI project aims to address the emotional and mental well-being of the residents in Bristol Bay through a variety of services. Counseling and education services are provided in collaboration with the SAMHSA Project Zero injury prevention program. A partnership with the Children’s Advocacy Center supports cultural activities for children and youth to encourage wellness in the community. The project holds Peer Prevention and Natural Helper trainings in local schools, and identifies elders to mentor youth in the spirit of promoting wellness. The project supports community events such as health and wellness fairs and has developed a means restriction project to provide homes with gun safes and education through a partnership with Bristol Bay Housing Authority, and local businesses.
The Chugachmiut MSPI project aims to reduce the incidence of suicide through raising awareness, providing skills, and building upon protective factors in a culturally responsive manner. Activities have included the Chenega Bay Walk for Life and the Sober Alternative events. Trainings provided through the project have included suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention skills.
Copper River Native Association
The Copper River MSPI project provides a variety of culturally sensitive counseling services for individuals and families, addressing depression, suicide, and addiction by melding traditional Alaska Native healing practices with Western techniques. The project funds both a trained clinician to travel to villages to provide suicide intervention and postvention services, and two school-based clinicians. In-school programming includes anti-bullying, suicide prevention, substance abuse prevention, and afterschool group activities such as crafts, and equine therapy.
Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments
The Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments MSPI project aims to reduce the incidence of suicide through culturally relevant clinical services. A team of specialists provides village-based care that includes substance abuse prevention and treatment. The project has hosted wellness workshops, suicide prevention, and safeTALK trainings and Choose Respect rallies in service area villages. Elders participate in prevention activities teaching youth traditional practices, including beading, skin sewing, sled and snow shoe making, singing, fiddle playing, dancing, and storytelling.
Eastern Aleutian Tribes, Inc.
The Eastern Aleutian MSPI project provides care across 1,500 miles of rural Alaska through teams consisting of a midlevel provider, community health aide, behavioral health aid, and a dental team member. The teams screen for depression and alcohol abuse at each visit. They provide educational materials on these topics and maintain a 24/7 emergency telephone number. The project collaborates with a number of organizations to support an annual two week long youth culture camp and plans activities in all of the region’s sites to further suicide and methamphetamine prevention and education.
Ketchikan Indian Community
The Ketchikan MSPI project provides suicide prevention and postvention services to community members. The project hosts annual community awareness activities such as Walk for Life and a Culture Camp where families participate in traditional activities such as a sweat lodge ceremony, crafts, drumming, and dancing. The project also conducts Gatekeeper and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) trainings and provides screening services to identify at-risk individuals.
Kodiak Area Native Association
The Kodiak MSPI project provides substance abuse and suicide prevention through a variety of programs. The RunningCubs is a running program for 4th and 5th graders that discusses issues such as bullying, respect, safe choices, trusting instincts, and reaching out to adults for support while building consecutiveness and running skills. The participants train for a 5K with the tutelage of high school cross- country runners. The Village Music Program encourages students in rural villages to become engaged in the arts to increase self-confidence, decrease isolation, and provide healthy activities. Other prevention efforts include talking circles, storytelling, drama events, and the distribution of gun locks. The MSPI project reaches out to the Kodiak community and the surrounding villages though educational pamphlets, brochures, posters, Careline information, trainings, and presentations. The project provides annual suicide prevention and intervention trainings in which all school district personnel are mandated to participate. Clinicians are available for mental health assessments, crisis intervention, and counseling.
The Maniilaq MSPI project has partnered with a number of organizations to create the Community Outreach Training (COT) for suicide prevention programs which hosts culturally relevant suicide prevention trainings for village-based counselors, therapists, chemical dependency counselors, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) workers. The project hosts in-school programs and village workshops to encourage students to share coping skills and cultural values with each other. The annual Camp Pigaaq, a suicide prevention and wellness camp that includes youth from all 12 villages in the region, and the annual Wellness Retreat, which focuses on building the Wellness Team and developing community-based workshops, are also supported by the project.
Metlakatla Indian Community
The Metlakatla MSPI project aims to reduce the incidence of methamphetamine use and suicidal activity by promoting positive and healthy choices. A team of 100 community members, including law enforcement, Behavioral Health Services staff, medical staff, and school counselors, has been trained to recognize warning signs and can provide resources to those in need. Prevention events hosted by the program have included a suicide prevention candle lighting ceremony and a suicide prevention walk. Surveillance goals are met through surveys conducted at supermarkets, basketball games, and at annual Health Fairs, which track community awareness of methamphetamine use and suicidal activity.
Norton Sound Health
The Norton Sound Health MSPI project provides localized, culturally relevant suicide prevention training, and depression and alcohol abuse screening in an effort to decrease suicide activities. Regional wellness fairs for each tribal community are hosted through partnerships with multiple departments and Kawerak, Inc. (the regional not-for-profit tribal advocate). The fairs include structured in-school or community workshops where project partners are available for questions. Departments involved with this project include CAMP (the diabetes and tobacco cessation group), the Sexual Assault Response team, Injury Prevention, Behavioral Health Services, and Kawerak’s wellness team.
The Southcentral Foundation MSPI project aims to increase access to treatment, provide case management, establish collaborative partnerships, and increase capacity to capture and report suicide data. Local service providers, including Alaska State Troopers, are trained in suicide prevention and intervention and a next-day crisis intervention follow-up process is in place for patients of the Alaska Native Medical Center Emergency Department experiencing suicidal thoughts. Project personnel actively partner with primary care providers and experienced traditional healers at the on-site traditional healing clinic to coordinate holistic approaches to wellness including the incorporation of the Yupik language in treatment.
Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium
The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium MSPI project provides suicide prevention programming for 18 Alaska Native communities. Prevention trainings such as Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), Gatekeeper, and safeTALK are available to all communities on request. The consortium also coordinates community-building activities. Activities have included an intercommunity canoe journey, annual Walk for Life, annual Every Mile Is Worth It race, and a youth culture camp to raise awareness about suicide prevention.
Tanana Chiefs Conference Behavioral Health Department
The Tanana Chiefs Conference Behavioral Health Department MSPI project provides suicide prevention and postvention care to 42 villages of interior Alaska. The project has partnered with the Alaska Suicide Prevention Council to create culturally appropriate and comprehensive prevention messages. Outreach materials have been distributed during community events and a number of public service announcements encouraging help-seeking behavior have been broadcast through TV, print, and social media. Prevention and postvention trainings and grief support are available to the villages and a number of area villages have formed local crisis response teams to promote and support the project’s efforts.
Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation
The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation MSPI project works with local Elders to develop culturally relevant suicide prevention and treatment. Activities have included youth camps, talking circles, and candlelight vigils. The project also partners with the traditional and community-based program, "Elluatmun Ayaturallerkaput Ilakellriani" or "Helping Families Heal," which focuses on healing cultural, intergenerational, and childhood trauma. The project supports teams of clinicians to travel to villages provide postvention support and training for the communities.