Building Resilience Building Health Program
The Building Resilience, Building Health is psycho-educational intervention program for Native American youth, which seeks to implement primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention. The program is open to all members of an adolescent’s household and the input of all household members is valued. This program was developed for the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation community.
About Suicide in the Native American Community | The Need for Suicide Prevention in the Native American Community
In 2015 American Indians had the second highest suicide rate in the United States. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Native Americans ages 10-34 years old. North Dakota ranks within the top twenty states for suicide and the current suicide rate for American Indians in North Dakota is three times the rate of the general population.
Within the first week of 2017 the city of New Town, ND and the Elbowoods Memorial Health Center saw ten suicide attempts of community members. Several of the attempted suicides were adolescents and their parents, grandparents, and concerned family members are often at a loss on how to help their teens. Once adolescents are psychiatrically hospitalized there is a lack of communication between the inpatient treatment team, the outpatient providers and the families.
Teens often prematurely stop their medications because neither they nor their families understand their diagnosis, medication, or how to reintegrate into the school environment. Families are at a loss to recognize warning signs of a relapse or decompensation. Poor access to care, discrimination, and adverse early life experiences combined with historical trauma have made it challenging to combat the rate of suicide attempts in the community.
Survivors of suicide attempts require collaborative support. The North Dakota Suicide Prevention Plan reports that nationally, no exact figure exists, however, it is estimated that there are on average between 6 and 32 survivors for each suicide, depending on the definition used (Berman, A. L., 2011). This same plan reports conservatively, that in 2012 alone, there were approximately 642 North Dakotan survivors (120 suicides).
At this time there are minimal services to address the survivors of suicide incidents and their families. Every suicide attempt and completion impacts the community and without education, mental health services, and the availability and access to care the suicide rate will continue to climb.
The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation & the Building Resilience Building Health Program
The Three Affiliated Tribes also known as the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nation encompasses six different communities covering nearly one million acres. There are approximately 6,000 members living within the reservation members along with Native Americans from other tribes.
The Building Resilience Building Health Program seeks to partner with Tribal Police, Tribal Courts, the Tribal Justice Center, Tribal Social Services, and the Tribal Health Departments, in addition to the New Town ambulance service, New Town Police Department and New Town Fire Department and local schools. Elbowoods Memorial Health Center continues to work with these agencies to develop early identification of those at risk for suicide and referrals for treatment.