The Indian Health Service (IHS) is announcing eight grants for the Zero Suicide Initiative. This program supports projects that promote improvements within a system of care for those at risk for suicide by implementing a comprehensive and culturally informed approach to providing suicide care in the Indian health system.
“Suicide and its causes are a complex topic but we are working to better understand some of the underlying factors including social and environmental influences, substance misuse and intergenerational trauma,” said Rear Adm. Michael D. Weahkee, acting director of the Indian Health Service. “These grants will allow facilities to provide culturally appropriate care to improve and maximize effectiveness of services that can protect individuals against suicide risk.”
The eight selected locations include three direct service (IHS) and five tribal sites (*):
The Zero Suicide model is a comprehensive approach to suicide care which aims to reduce the risk of suicide for all individuals seen in health care systems. Zero Suicide represents a commitment to patient safety – the most fundamental responsibility of health care – and to the safety and support of clinical staff who treat and support suicidal patients.
The foundational belief of Zero Suicide is that suicide deaths for individuals under care within health and behavioral health systems are preventable. Zero Suicide encompasses seven core goals to: Lead, Train, Identify, Engage, Treat, Transition and Improve.
The IHS Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) serves as the primary source of national advocacy, policy development, management and administration of behavioral health, alcohol and substance abuse, and family violence prevention programs. Working in partnership with tribes, tribal organizations, and Urban Indian Organizations, DBH coordinates national efforts to share knowledge and build capacity through the development and implementation of evidence/practice-based and cultural-based practices in Indian country.
The IHS, an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for approximately 2.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives.