Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
Resources for Providers
Healthcare professionals have the opportunity to:
- prevent suicide through community education and awareness efforts;
- offer an appropriate intervention to individuals who are at-risk for suicide following screening and assessment;
- and to provide postvention services to individuals who have survived a suicide attempt, as well as to individuals who have lost an acquaintance, friend, or family member to suicide.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers suicide prevention tools, information, and links to resources to help suicide prevention practitioners and others increase awareness of suicide as a public health issue, and use connectedness and community resources to prevent suicide.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) Wallet Card: Suicide Prevention: Learn the Warning Signs is available to download or order from SAMHSA. The card lists warning signs and urges those who exhibit signs of suicide to contact a mental health professional or call the toll-free suicide prevention hotline.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Wallet Card: Having Trouble Coping? With Help Comes Hope is also available to download or order from SAMHSA. The card lists signs of depression and urges people who are having trouble coping after a traumatic event to call the hotline.
The NSPL has collected links to sites listing therapists and support groups on their Therapy page.
SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) has a number of tools available on its website about how to intervene with an individual who may be suicidal, including resources on intervening with Native American population.
Screening for Mental Health created the questionnaire Act now to stop a suicide—What to look for—and what to do if you are concerned about someone [PDF - 1.45 MB].
The Suicide Grief Support Quick Reference site, created in response to results from a questionnaire sent to 150 NSPL crisis centers, lists resources and online grief support for survivors, caregivers and others.
Screening and Assessment
SAFE-T: Suicide Assessment Five-step Evaluation and Triage for Mental Health professionals [PDF - 56 KB], a collaboration between Screening for Mental Health, Inc. and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center is a five-step guide for clinicians which addresses patient levels of suicide risk and suggests appropriate interventions.
Available through the HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions, part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Suicide Behaviors Questionnaire Revised (SBQ-R) [PDF - 47 KB] is a screening tool that assesses suicide related thoughts and behaviors.
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is a two-day workshop for those who want to feel more comfortable, confident and competent in helping prevent the immediate risk of suicide.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) provides support group facilitator training appropriate for both mental health professional and suicide loss survivors.
Most efforts to prevent suicide focus on why people take their lives. But how a person attempts suicide—the means he or she uses—can determine life or death. “Means reduction” is the goal of a project of the Harvard School of Public Health called Means Matter. The Center, through the SPRC website, offers two Counseling on Access to Leathal Means (CALM) online training courses in means reduction.
The Connect Program, a nationally designated Best Practice Program developed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, offers suicide prevention, intervention and postvention training.
The QPR Institute offers one-hour QPR suicide prevention training that teaches how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer (QPR) someone to get help.
safeTALK is a three-hour training that prepares people 15 and older to identify people with thoughts of suicide and connect them to suicide first aid resources.
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) offers five free online courses in suicide prevention to train service providers, educators, health professionals, and others. The SPRC also offers Research to Practice Webinars designed for practitioners, researchers, and others that address the science of suicide prevention in practical terms.
The Indian Health Service (IHS) Best Practices, Promising Practices, and Local Efforts (BP/PP/LE) website contains a collection of prevention/intervention strategies designed to improve the health of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations.
Tools and Toolkits
After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools, from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), includes an overview of key considerations, general guidelines for action, templates, and sample materials, all in an easily accessible format applicable to diverse populations and communities.
One Sky Center offers a template designed to assess community suicide prevention components, the American Indian Community Suicide Prevention Assessment Tool [DOC - 124 KB].
The Assessment and Planning Tool Kit for Suicide Prevention in First Nations Communities [PDF - 1 MB] may be downloaded from the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO), a Canadian not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual health of First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, families and communities.
Ensuring the Seventh Generation: Youth Suicide Prevention Toolkit [PPT - 3 MB] , from The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) was designed for child welfare and mental health programs focused on victims of abuse, children in out-of-home care, and witnesses of violence to educate tribal child welfare workers of the warning signs of suicide, risk and protective factors, suicide prevention and intervention methods.
The Lifeline Online Postvention Manual [PDF - 103 MB] on the Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s American Indian Initiative website offers guidance on how to help survivors heal after a suicide or suicide attempt.
SAMHSA’s Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools provides guidance for designing and implementing strategies to prevent suicide and promote behavioral health among students. It includes tools to implement a multifaceted suicide prevention program that responds to students' needs and cultures.
Promoting Emotional Health and Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for Senior Living Communities equips senior living staff with resources to promote mental health and prevent suicide and encourage active participation among residents, and may be downloaded or ordered through SAMHSA.
Through SAMHSA, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) offers three guides in booklet form, including one for medical providers on patient care after a suicide attempt.
The Suicide Prevention among LGBT Youth: A Workshop for Professionals Who Serve Youth toolkit contains materials to help staff in schools, youth-serving organizations, and suicide prevention programs host a workshop to take action to reduce suicidal behavior among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth.
Reports and Presentations
The Surgeon General and National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention's report 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action [PDF - 4.93 MB] is an update of the initial strategy that was released in 2001. The updated National Strategy reflects the most current knowledge, research, and practice about how communities can most effectively work to prevent suicide.
From the Urban Indian Health Institute, Addressing Behavioral Health Among American Indians and Alaska Natives: A Literature Review (August 2012) [PDF - 7 MB] a report summarizing existing programs to highlight approaches to address depression through outreach, education, screening and treatment.
Statement before the Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, by Randy Grinnell, MPH, Deputy Director, Indian Health Services on "The Preventable Epidemic: Youth and the Urgent Need for Mental Health Care Resources in Indian Country, March 25, 2010" [PDF - 7 MB].
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) created a PowerPoint presentation on the Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s American Indian Initiative [PDF - 1.8 MB] to assist providers in becoming more aware of the cultural needs of American Indian/Alaska Native Individuals.
The Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB) has published a Tribal Suicide Action Plan [PDF - 4 MB] available to download on their site.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center provides technical assistance, training, and materials to increase the knowledge and expertise of suicide prevention practitioners and other professionals serving people at risk for suicide. The Center promotes collaboration among organizations that play a role in developing the field of suicide prevention. The Center offers workshops and webinars, and its website has 250 library resources and a best practices registry. The Center’s website also has a section for professionals serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities.