IHS Announces New Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative Generation-Indigenous Awards


Awards will promote best practice models, strategies and approaches that are culturally appropriate and effective for tribal communities

Published October 1, 2016

WASHINGTON – On Thursday at the White House, Mary L. Smith, IHS principal deputy director, announced 42 Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative (MSPI) funding awards to tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian organizations and IHS federal government programs together totaling more than $7 million for one year. Awardees will focus on increasing positive youth development, fostering resiliency and promoting family engagement among Native youth up to and including age 24 in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. These awards will provide more access to health services by growing the number of behavioral health providers who specialize in working with children, adolescents and families with the overall goal of preventing suicide and substance use.

“At the Indian Health Service, we work in partnership with tribal communities to strengthen our national system of health care delivery with the tools and resources to address behavioral health issues facing our patients,” said IHS Principal Deputy Director Mary L. Smith. “Native children, youth and families face adverse experiences, trauma, toxic stress and adversity. However, we know that protective factors provided through caring adults, traditional practices and Native language and culture help offset negative outcomes and foster the long-term development of resilience.”

A complete list of the 2016 MSPI GEN-I awards by IHS Area is available.

Some highlights for current MSPI GEN-I funding cycle projects include:

Ohkay Owingeh MSPI Project (New Mexico) – Early Intervention Strategies with the Local Boys and Girls Club

The Ohkay Owingeh Boys and Girls Club of America utilizes the SMART Moves and MethSMART programs as early intervention strategies in order to provide prevention education that will reduce risk factors for suicidal behavior and substance abuse in Native youth ages six to 18. Implementing the MethSMART curriculum after the SMART Moves curriculum creates a comprehensive evidence and practice-based prevention program that strongly focuses on the issues surrounding methamphetamine and other drugs and self-harm in Native communities.

Fresno American Indian Health Project (California) – Suicide and Drug Abuse Prevention in an Urban Setting

The Friendship House Association of American Indians, Stronghold Project II, targets Native youth ages eight to 24 that are at risk for substance abuse and suicide in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Stronghold Project II strengthens cultural systems and family capacity by addressing the issues of family violence, including accidental death, injury, and suicide, due to substance abuse. Activities are centered on prevention and cultural intervention services for youth after school at their youth center. Their youth program operates from the perspective that if youth have a positive, strong identity they will value themselves, their families, and their communities and that these will serve as protective factors that prevent substance abuse or suicide.

Western Oregon Service Unit – Chemawa Indian Health Center – Working with Native Youth in a BIE School Setting

The Chemawa Indian Health Center has worked on the implementation of its positive youth development program. Collaborating with the Native youth coalition and peer leaders, they have worked implementing key Project Venture components including social/emotional learning skills building, project venture cultural curriculum, afterschool programs, weekend experiential leadership development retreats, community service projects, and obtaining key training and enhanced competencies in the Project Venture model.

Generation Indigenous Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov was launched by President Obama in December 2014. Gen I is a Native youth initiative focused on removing the barriers that stand between Native youth and their opportunities to succeed. This initiative takes a comprehensive, culturally appropriate approach to help improve the lives and opportunities for Native youth.

President Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget for the Indian Health Service proposes additional funding to further expand the MSPI program, proposed to be renamed Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention.

From 2009 through 2015, MSPI supported over 12,200 individuals entering treatment for methamphetamine abuse; more than 16,560 substance use and mental health disorder encounters via telehealth; over 16,250 professionals and community members trained in suicide crisis response; and more than 690,590 encounters with youth provided as part of evidence-based and practice-based prevention activities. The awards announced today expand upon the more than $13 million awarded earlier in Fiscal Year 2015.

IHS suicide prevention activities include funding and resources for patients and providers, as well as a wide variety of innovative events and pilot programs, such as Zero Suicide at IHS, that bring culturally appropriate behavioral health care to communities.

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