In December 2014, Eve’s Fund co-sponsored a two-day suicide prevention program called Native H.O.P.E. (Helping our People Endure) at the To’Hajiilee Community School, located in Bernalillo, NM on the Navajo Nation.
Several community groups provided resources for the workshop, which was led by Clayton Small, Ph.D., head of the non-profit organization Native Pride.
Suicide is a serious public health problem in New Mexico and the second leading cause of death among youth and adults ages 10-44. Leaders in the To’Hajiilee community are very concerned about this issue and are working hard to provide prevention, intervention, and treatment resources.
Native H.O.P.E. is a peer–counseling (youth helping youth) curriculum that focuses on suicide prevention and related risk factors such as substance abuse, violence, trauma, and depression. This strengths-based approach incorporates culture, spirituality, and humor and provides an awareness and education of the warning signs of suicide.
At the To’Hajiilee Community School workshop, approximately 100 students in grades 7-12 participated in the program. They were guided by trained facilitators, including behavioral health professionals, school counselors, teachers, and other community support personnel.
The goal of the two-day program was to strengthen the capacity of the students to help each other, their families, school, and communities using their “sources of strength” — including culture and spirituality — to break the “Code of Silence” surrounding suicide and other issues such as substance abuse, domestic violence, and teen pregnancy.
Overall feedback was very positive from both students and teachers. The workshop helped school and community leaders identify areas of need, including a support group for students.
For more information about this unique suicide prevention program for Native youth and our partnership with Native Pride, visit our program page at: http://evecrowellsfund.org/past-events/native-h-o-p-e/.
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