Native Americans for Community Action, Inc. (NACA) Native Connections Program will work in collaboration with community youth, young adults, families, elders and community leaders alongside local youth serving agencies in the Flagstaff area. This program will collaboratively design a plan of action that will include improvements to the local mental health/behavioral health system in an effort to reduce suicidal behavior and substance use and the impacts of trauma along with the promotion of mental health well-being among Native American youth through 24 years of age.
The Native Connections Program will work with the community through the NACA Youth Council and the Community Advisory Committee as well as establish a youth service agency workgroup to implement and carry out the following goals:
1. Increase awareness of suicide and substance abuse prevention methods for Flagstaff youth through the creation of youth guided strategies
2. Reduce the impact of mental health and substance use disorder through implementation of youth based strategies.
3. Develop a plan of action for the development of policies, procedures and protocols that promote coordination and collaboration of youth serving agencies with a focus on standards of care, transition of youth from one agency to another, importance of the role of local traditional healing and helping practices to ensure youth at risk for suicide and substance use receive follow up services.
4. Develop a plan of action to create postvention protocols for responding to suicides, suicide attempts, and suicide clusters. This plan will include the promotion of community healing and reduce the possibility of contagions that include traditional and cultural practices.
5. Develop a youth based social marketing plan for youth and families which will provide awareness and promote the importance and de-stigmatization of mental health.
The Native Connections Program will hire two full time staff and contract with two individuals for evaluation and social marketing expertise. The end result of this program is to provide additional prevention and interventional mental health services for youth that are culturally appropriate, contribute to evaluation and data collection in terms of gaining a better perspective of current youth in the system and to track improvement of this program for future use, along with enhancing collaboration and communication between community agencies serving youth.