Eve’s Fund embraced a message of hope once again this year as it co-sponsored a three-day suicide prevention youth retreat during the late summer. The retreat, called Native H.O.P.E. (Helping our People Endure), took place at the Moenkopi Community Center in Moenkopi, Ariz., on the Hopi Nation. Forty Native youth, ages 10 through 18, attended the program.
The Meth & Suicide Prevention Initiative (MSPI) Project, coordinated by Mitzi Lee of Tuba City Regional Health Care in Tuba City, Ariz., provided primary funding for this program, led by Clayton Small, Ph.D., head of the non-profit organization Native Pride.
Suicide is a serious public health problem in Native American communities and the second leading cause of death among youth and adults ages 10 through 44. Native American youth are twice as likely to attempt suicide as any other ethnic group in the United States. Leaders in the Tuba City health care community are very concerned about this powerful, painful statistic 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, domestic violence, bullying, trauma, grief, loss and depression. This strengths-based approach incorporates culture, spirituality and humor, and it educates individuals about the warning signs of suicide.
The goal of the retreat was to strengthen the capacity of the students to help each other, their families, school and communities using their “sources of strength” — including their culture and spirituality — to break the “Code of Silence” surrounding suicide and other issues. The students were guided by trained facilitators, including behavioral health professionals, school counselors, teachers and other community support personnel.
Members from our ThinkFirst Navajo program, director Jodee Dennison and VIP Darlene Singer also participated in the retreat and presented a module on reducing risky behaviors and injury prevention, encouraging participants to “Think first and use your minds to protect your bodies.”
ABOUT EVE’S FUND
Eve’s Fund is a small non-profit organization with a big mission: to promote hope and wellness for young Native Americans living on and near the Navajo Nation in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.