Suicide remains a significant public health crisis in the United States. Suicide ranks in the top ten for causes of death and injury in the country. For American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN), in 2016, suicide rates were recorded and shown to be higher in AI/ANs, followed by Whites, followed by Blacks, Asians/Pacific Islanders and Hispanics. Those rates have not changed significantly in the intervening years. Indeed, it can be argued that disparities in rates have continued to widen the gaps of health equity between the dominant culture and the rest of the country’s populations. Many risk factors exist for suicide among AI/ANs; for adults, suicide is related to male gender, alcohol, illicit drug use, death by firearm, loose tribal social integration, rapid socioeconomic change, and physical and sexual abuse. In younger members of AI/AN Tribal populations, risk factors include physical and sexual abuse, family disruption, previous suicide attempts, lack of religious identification, depression, anxiety, high acculturation pressure, overweight, and social isolation. Inconsistent support from funding agencies has also played a role as a risk factor, discontinued programming has had deleterious effects on AI/AN populations resulting from perceived neglect of local issues. Pueblo of Acoma is not immune to suicide risk factors and their impact on the lifespan of the Tribe.
The renewed POAZSI will provide reassurance to the people of Acoma that their concerns for suicide in the community are being heard and will be addressed by the new mechanism. Renewal of the ZSI to POAZSI will provide a seamless transition from current protocols to newly established processes through the ZSI web portal.