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Key Areas

Native youth face unique challenges every day. The Indian Health Service (IHS) works to ensure that Native Youth have access to health services in the communities where they live. IHS carries out this work by providing enhanced resources for health issues and developing better information regarding health needs.

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Youth and Suicide Prevention and Postvention

The Indian Health Service is committed to increasing capacity and providing resources to address suicide among American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN).

Agency Programs

The Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative (MSPI) is a nationally-coordinated program focusing on providing methamphetamine and suicide prevention and intervention resources for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The IHS awarded approximately $19.65 million to 108 projects to focus specifically on Native youth through MSPI Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) Support. The program focuses on: implementing evidence-based and practice-based approaches to build resiliency, promoting positive development, and increasing self-sufficiency behaviors among youth; promoting family engagement; increasing access to prevention activities for youth; and hiring additional behavioral health staff.

The IHS Suicide Prevention Program builds on the foundation of HHS's "National Strategy for Suicide Prevention" to reduce suicidal behavior and its consequences, while ensuring honor and respect for Tribal traditions and practices.For Educators and Clinicians: American Indian and Alaska Native Community Crisis Response Guidelines provide recommendations to address the importance of federal and tribal partnerships in addressing suicide behavior-related crises. 

Hope for Life Day tools Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov  from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, is designed for professional and grass-roots organizers working in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

For more resources visit the IHS Suicide Prevention Program Resources page.

Youth and Substance Abuse Prevention

The Indian Health Service is committed to providing resources to improve the quality of services offered to Native youth to address the issue of substance abuse prevention and intervention.

Agency Programs

  • The Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative (MSPI) is a nationally-coordinated program focusing on providing methamphetamine and suicide prevention and intervention resources for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The IHS awarded approximately $19.65 million to 108 projects to focus specifically on Native youth through MSPI Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) Support. The program focuses on: implementing evidence-based and practice-based approaches to build resiliency, promoting positive development, and increasing self-sufficiency behaviors amongst youth; promoting family engagement; increasing access to prevention activities for youth; and hiring additional behavioral health staff.
  • Youth Regional Treatment Centers (YRTC) provide quality, holistic behavioral health care for AI/AN adolescents and their families in a substance-free, residential environment that integrates healing, spiritual values, and cultural identification.
  • The Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) aims to lower the incidence and prevalence of alcohol abuse and alcoholism among American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) people, to a level at or below the general U.S. population, through a network of community-based emergency, inpatient, and outpatient treatment and rehabilitation services, in rural and urban settings.

Youth and Sexual Health and Responsibility

The Indian Health Service is committed to providing resources to improve the quality of services offered to Native youth to address sexual health and responsibility.

a dreamcatcher

Agency Programs

  • Forensic Healthcare addresses sexual and intimate partner violence, child sexual abuse, and elder maltreatment. By training health care providers to provide medical forensic examinations, collect accurate evidence in a timely manner, and participate in coordinated community response aimed at addressing violence, the program enables more AI/AN people to get needed health care.
  • The Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative promotes the development of evidence- and practice-based models that represent culturally appropriate prevention and treatment approaches to domestic violence and sexual assault from a community-driven context.

For Parents and Educators

For Youth

Youth Mental Health

The Indian Health Service is committed to increasing capacity and providing resources to address mental health issues among American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The IHS Mental Health Program promotes, provides, and manages a comprehensive system of mental health services, which offers AI/AN people a full range of culturally sensitive clinical and community mental health services.

Agency Programs

The Behavioral Health Integrative Initiative (BH2I) aims to plan, develop, implement, and evaluate behavioral health integration with primary care, community based settings, and/or integrating primary care, nutrition, diabetes care, and chronic disease management with behavioral health.

Partnerships

In December 2016, The Indian Health Service (IHS) entered into an agreement with the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) [PDF - 945 KB] to address the needs of Native youth by increasing access to mental and behavioral health services by allowing the Indian Health Service staff to treat youth attending BIE schools or youth held at BIA facilities. View the news release for more information.

The Trauma Informed Care Project focuses on the impacts of trauma and historical trauma on the physical, behavioral, and spiritual health of patients and providers and provides training on the impact of trauma.

The Indian Children's Program (ICP) provides training and telehealth consultation services for IHS, Tribal, and urban Indian health care providers to deliver health care to American Indian and Alaska Natives through age 18 with disabilities such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), autism, intellectual deficits, and mental health disabilities. These services use tele-video and web-based technology and are available nationwide.

Youth and Career Development

The Indian Health Service is committed to recruiting qualified health professionals to service American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Agency Programs

IHS offers a variety of programs for students including:

Young woman holding paper
  • IHS Virtual Internship - provide students around the world an opportunity to contribute to innovative projects to further the IHS mission directly from home or their dormitory.
  • IHS Scholarship Program-provides qualified American Indian and Alaska Native health professions students an opportunity to establish an educational foundation for each stage of your pre-professional careers.
  • IHS Extern Program - provides opportunities to scholarship recipients to participate in a hands-on instructive experience that will complement the knowledge and skills developed in school.
  • IHS Residencies and Rotations- are non-paid rotations for academic credit for students in their last year of pharmacy school. Visit the Student Opportunities page for additional opportunities

Partnerships

The Indian Health Service is committed to partnerships to enhance quality of the health system and recruit future professional to serve. Some educational partnerships include:

  • Dartmouth College
  • Washington University Katherine M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies and Brown School of Social Work
  • University of Michigan School of Social Work

Interested in additional opportunities? Contact Jennifer Downs, Recruitment and Retention Coordination for the Division of Behavioral Health.