Fri Oct 26th, 2018
The Southern Ute Drum
Across thousands of tribal communities, suicide has affected families and friends. On the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, the impacts of trauma, and substance abuse account for just two of the many reasons suicidal ideation exist.
Through the Southern Ute Indian Suicide Action Plan, the Tribe aims to prevent and reduce suicidal ideation in local American Indian and Alaska Native populations. It will also strive to promote mental health and to provide the community with an in-depth explanation of the plan.
The suicide action plan was originally created two years ago with the guidance of the Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board and tribal leaders to develop and empower the public in various events, trainings and programs. This plan would allow for targeted action planning and advocacy roles to be developed in the Southwest.
Through collaboration with the Southern Ute Boys and Girls program and the AAIHB, there have been trainings that tribal employees have been able to attend that will help the community understand direct and indirect impacts or signs for knowing how to talk to individuals who may be having suicidal thoughts.
The training that was last attended by tribal employees was the “safe TALK” half-day training that provided individuals with lifesaving skills that allow for safe TALK trained helpers to intervene and assist a suicidal person in their community. These helpers will notice and respond to situations where suicide ideation may occur, they will Apply the TALK steps: Tell, Ask, Listen, and Keep Safe, and if necessary they will connect the person with community resources who can further help them.
“Safe TALK is similar to QPR (Question. Persuade. Refer.) in a sense that it is a basic entry level kind of training for anybody who might notice somebody who is down and out,” Southern Ute Boys and Girls Club CEO, Bruce LeClair stated. LeClair and four other participants attended a suicide alertness training that provided them the skills to take care of themselves, their loved ones and the community.
Safe TALK is one of the many programs that are offered through the world leading suicide intervention training initiative, Living Works. For over 35 years Living Works has helped train one million people through their workshops, programs and trainings which are designed to help communities in suicide interventions. “Myself, Journey Nez, Vanessa Torres, Esther Belin and Amanda McKinley are the five who are now certified through living works,” LeClair stated. “These will be the guys that the community can see and refer people.”
By expanding the awareness of suicide and suicide prevention in the community, the trained caregivers will support each other and use a common approach for the safety of everyone.