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Federal agencies to collaborate with Tribes on suicide prevention

The Indian Health Service, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Department of the Interior’s Indian Affairs will hold ten tribal listening sessions across Indian Country to seek input on how the agencies can most effectively work within American Indian and Alaska Native communities to prevent suicide. American Indians and Alaska Natives have a suicide rate 72 percent higher than the general U.S. population.

“We are very concerned by the ongoing tragedy of suicide in Indian Country,” said IHS Director Yvette Roubideaux, M.D., M.P.H. “We know the consequences of suicide are devastating to our families and tribal communities.”

“We have heard the pleas of tribal leaders for coordinated prevention and intervention efforts to address these tragic events, particularly among our youth,” said DOI Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk.

“These listening sessions will help us better support tribal communities working to enhance the way young people feel connected to community and family and strengthening their ability to accept the challenges and gifts that life has to offer,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde.

The tribal listening sessions (see list below) are being held in conjunction with a national comprehensive suicide prevention conference planned for early next year. The conference will provide an opportunity for the Department of the Interior, Department of Health and Human Services, and tribal leaders to develop strategies and best practices for suicide prevention and intervention in Indian Country. The listening sessions will help the agencies gather first-hand information on suicide prevention needs, concerns, programs, and practices from the residents of American Indian and Alaska Native communities. This input will shape the agenda and goals for the conference.

Tribal collaboration is a vital part of efforts to reduce health disparities and raise the health status of American Indian and Alaska Native people. Listening sessions are an important part of the open and continuous dialogue that promotes and strengthens tribal-federal partnerships.

Suicide Prevention Listening Sessions – to be held at 1 - 5 pm local time

Navajo Region
November 15, 2010
Navajo Nation Museum
Highway 264 and Loop Road
Window Rock, AZ 86515

Midwest Region
November 19, 2010
Mystic Lake Casino Hotel
Wabasha Meeting Room
2400 Mystic Lake Blvd.
Prior Lake, MN 55372

Rocky Mountain
November 23, 2010
Hampton Inn and Suites
3550 Ember Lane
Billings, MT 59102

Alaska Region
November 30, 2010
Egan Convention Center
555 West 5th Avenue
Anchorage, Alaska 99501

Great Plains Region
December 2, 2010
Best Western Ramkota Hotel
& Convention Center
2111 N. LaCrosse Street
Rapid City, SD 57701

Southern Plains/
December 13, 2010
Embassy Suites – Meridian
Eastern Oklahoma
1815 South Meridian
Oklahoma City, OK 73108

Pacific Region
December 21, 2010
Federal Building -- Cottage
Conference Room
2800 Cottage Way
Sacramento, CA 95825

Southwest Region
January 10, 2011
National Indian Programs
Training Center (NIPTC)
1011 Indian School Road, NW
Albuquerque, NM 87104

Northwest Region
January 12, 2011
Bureau of Indian Affairs
911 Federal Building – Auditorium
911 NE 11th Avenue
Portland, OR 97232

Eastern Region
February 10, 2011
USET Conference Marriott Crystal Gateway
1700 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA 22202

NOTICE TO EDITORS: For additional information on this subject, please contact the IHS public affairs office at 301-4433593. Additional information about the IHS is available on the IHS website at