Resources for Native Americans with Disabilities: Suicide

American Indian Life Skills Development Curriculum by Teresa D. LaFromboise

Format           Curriculum


American Indian Life Skills Development Curriculum is a course for high school students and some middle school students that is designed to drastically reduce suicidal thinking and behavior.  Created in collaboration with students and community members from the Zuni Pueblo and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, this curriculum addresses key issues in American Indian/Alaska Native adolescents’ lives and teaches such life skills as communication, problem solving, depression and stress management, anger regulation, and goal setting. The course is unique in its skills-based approach. After first increasing awareness and knowledge of suicide, it then teaches students specific methods to help a peer turn away from suicidal thinking and seek help from an appropriate help-giver.  The skills-based approach of this curriculum follows well-established teaching methods to develop social skills. Teachers and peers inform students of the rationale and components of a particular skill, demonstrate the skill for them, and later provide feedback on individual skill performance.

Contact URL


Contact Agency      

Teresa LaFromboise, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Stanford University
485 Lasuen Mall
Stanford, CA 94305
Web site:
Phone: (650) 723-2109          

Fax: (650) 725-7412


Fact Sheet To Prevent Suicide In The American Indian Population


American Indian Health Council          


Format           Fact Sheet


This fact sheet describes the social characteristics of the American Indian/Alaska Native most inclined toward a completed suicide and lists ten preventive steps.


Contact URL


Contact Agency      

American Indian Health Council is a project of Community Partners
Community Partners
606 South Olive Street, Suite 2400
Los Angeles, CA 90014

(213) 439-9640 Fax: (213) 439-9650


The Indian Health Service Suicide Prevention Work Plan


by Peter Stuart, MD, Chairperson, National Indian Health Service Suicide Prevention Committee (SPC), and Chief, Mental Health Services, Chinle Service Unit, Navajo Area Indian Health Services, Chinle, Arizona


The IHS Primary Care Provider, September 2005 Volume 30 Number 9


Format           Web journal article     


In 2003, the Indian Health Service (IHS), under the leadership of Dr. Charles Grim, chartered the IHS Suicide Prevention Committee (SPC) with identifying and defining steps needed to reduce the impact of suicide and suicide-related behaviors on American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. Members of the committee were selected to represent affected AI/AN communities from a broad geographic distribution and from mixed settings. The committee met face-to-face and by phone and consulted with a variety of sources in developing what is now known as the IHS National Suicide Prevention Committee Work Plan.  The plan follows, in many aspects, the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, which is a national initiative to reduce the impact of suicide and suicide-related behaviors.  The goal of The IHS Suicide Prevention Committee Work Plan is to develop, advocate for, and coordinate a comprehensive cultural- and community-based approach to reduce suicidal behaviors and suicides in AI/AN communities.


Contact URL


Contact Agency      

Dept. of Health and Human Services

Indian Health Service

Clinical Support Center

Two Renaissance Square, Suite 780

40 North Central Avenue

Phoenix, Arizona 85004

(602) 364-7777

fax: (602) 364-7788



Joint Statement from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee Hearing on Teen Suicide Among American Indian Youth, May 17, 2006


The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and the The American Psychiatric Association (APA)     


Format           Statement       


This statement describes suicide as the second leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year old American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youths. Suicide is often the result of missed opportunities to treat problems such as depression, alcohol and substance abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence, all of which are prevalent in communities.  The statement cites these barriers to care in AI/AN communities:  AI/AN youth receive mental health services from multiple informal providers, which often impedes coordination and continuity of care; geographical remoteness of some AI/AN reservations; multi-generational poverty; and lack of access to specialty mental health services. The statement calls for increased suicide screening and treatment and more research on the safety and efficacy of antidepressant medications in children and adolescents. Policy recommendations include increased access to mental health care in AI/AN communities, the creation and funding of suicide prevention programs that de-stigmatize mental illness, and the use of screening instruments to identify adolescents at risk for suicide.  Officials encourage the Senate Indian Affairs Committee Hearing in this statement to continue to increase clinical and preventive mental health and substance abuse services to AI/AN people.


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Contact Agency      

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

3615 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20016

202. 966.7300

202. 966.1944


American Psychiatric Association

1000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1825

Arlington, VA 22209





Suicide in Rural Areas:  Lost In Rural America–the Challenges, the Progress, the Hope–Tragedy in Indian Country, July/August 2005, Volume I Issue 2

Advancing Suicide Prevention Journal


Format           Journal Issue


This issue discusses: soaring suicide among American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) people living in rural America; the fatal connection between firearms and completed suicide; challenges in accessing mental health care in rural America; the breakdown of the AI/AN family growing worse in part by a high prevalence of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, violence and suicide on isolated rural reservations nationwide; the tragedy at Standing Rock in December 2004 and January 2005 when five young people took their lives; statistics on the suicide rate for AI/AN youths compared to the national average; psychologist-farmer Mike Rosmann who works to prevent suicide in agricultural communities; how forced sale of the farm can place farmers at risk for suicide; the importance of considering cultural differences when determining how to prevent suicide; that sparse services and stigma are contributors to high suicide rates in rural America.


Contact URL


Contact Agency      

Customer Service Department

PDV Communications Inc.

629 North 8th Street, Suite 203

Sheboygan, WI 53081-4502

Phone: 920-457-4033

(8 a.m. – 5 p.m. CST weekdays)

Fax: 920-457-4011