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Suicide Prevention and Care Program

A sunset in South Dakota

Despite the strengths of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) families and communities, suicide remains a devastating and all too frequent event. Complex, interrelated factors contribute to an increased suicide risk among AI/AN people and include mental health disorders, substance abuse, intergenerational trauma, and community-wide issues. Factors that protect AI/AN youth and young adults against suicidal behavior are a sense of belonging to one's culture, a strong tribal/spiritual bond, the opportunity to discuss problems with family or friends, feeling connected to family, and positive emotional health.

Cooperation among Tribal, Federal, and other partners is imperative to create a safety net of interconnected programming - health, education, law enforcement, public health and well-being, economic development, and physical and behavioral health - to maximize effectiveness of services and to protect individuals against suicide risk.