Tour de Ute Native Connections will serve the rural, isolated Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Tribal communities of Towaoc (Colorado) and White Mesa (Utah). Both communities are characterized by high poverty, high unemployment and few community resources. Both communities are Medically Underserved Populations and are Health Professional Shortage Areas. The number of children and youth living on the UMUT Reservation is about 600. Education levels are astonishingly low, and nearly one-in-three children live in poverty. Teen birth rates are among the highest in the nation, and the likelihood of low birth weight is significantly higher than averages for other regions. Native Connections will serve approximately 250 youth under the age of 24 over the life of the project. The overarching goal of Native Connections is to utilize culturally-relevant strategies to build the capacity of UMUT personnel to staff a behavioral health center focusing on preventing and reducing suicidal behavior and substance use, reducing the impact of trauma, and promoting mental health among UMUT youth through the age of 24 years. SMART program objectives are below.
Objective 1: By the end of year one, conduct a Community System Analysis that addresses suicide prevention, substance use prevention, and mental health disorders.
Objective 2: By the end of year three, develop policies and procedures to promote coordination among youth-serving agencies on the UMUT Reservation.
Objective 3: By the end of year three, develop and/or revise protocols to ensure that UMUT youth at risk for suicide, including those who attempt suicide and use substances, receive follow-up services to ease their transition into treatment.
Objective 4: By the end of year three, develop culturally-appropriate postvention protocols for responding to suicides, suicide attempts, and suicide clusters to promote community healing and reduce the possibility of contagion i.e., suicides following and connected to an initial suicide.
Objective 5: By the end of year three, develop and implement a culturally-appropriate Action Plan that addresses Tier 1 and Tier 2 of prevention and intervention strategies.
Objective 6: Annually, in collaboration with the University of Southern California, deploy at least one new culturally-relevant evidence-based practice focused on preventing and reducing suicidal behavior and substance use, reducing the impact of trauma, and promoting mental health among UMUT youth through the age of 24 years.