Fairbanks Native Association (FNA) Youth and Young Adult Services (YYA) seeks support to implement Reconnecting Youth, a project that will reconnect American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) at-risk youth (up to 24 years of age) to services and supports needed to achieve overall mental health and a substance-free lifestyle. Reconnecting Youth will prevent suicide and substance misuse, reduce the impact of trauma, and promote mental health.
Through multiple new services, Reconnecting Youth will reduce the impact of mental and substance use disorders, foster culturally responsive models that reduce and respond to the impact of trauma in AI/AN communities, and allow our community to facilitate collaboration among our community coalition - the Interagency Transition Council (ITC) - to support youth as they transition into adulthood. At its conclusion, Reconnecting Youth will have developed and implemented an array of integrated services and supports to enhance and expand our existing continuum of care. An ITC representative has been involved in the development of this project and the entire body will be involved in implementation and evaluation.
New services responding to the required activities of the proposed project will include 1) policy/procedure development to promote coordination among youth serving agencies for standards of care for youth at-risk of suicide, procedures to address the transition of youth from one agency to another, the role of evidence based clinical health practices in supporting suicide prevention, substance misuse prevention interventions, mental health promotion strategies among youth and their families, and the role of local traditional healing/helping practices in combination with evidence-based suicide and substance use prevention among youth, and youth suicide follow-up services and postvention protocols. 2) Development and/or revision of protocols to ensure that youth at risk for suicide, including those who attempt suicide and use substances, receive follow-up services to ease their transition into treatment. 3) Development and implementation of mental health awareness training in our community including activities to raise awareness of the importance of suicide prevention strategies, including screening for suicide. 3) Implementation of community substance misuse prevention strategies, including public messaging, training on the risk of substance use, and education in school settings. 4) Implementation of prevention/intervention evidence-based practices (EBP).
Existing continuum of care services will augment this project and project participants will be able to participate in all existing services. Existing youth services include the following EBP: Seeking Safety (trauma prevention), Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), Guiding Good Choices (family prevention training), Coping and Support Training (youth training), and Community Reinforcement approach (co-occurring outpatient treatment). Other existing services that will be available to project participants include street outreach, an annual marketing campaign, a community coalition (the ITC), a Strategic Prevention Framework, short-term transitional living, residential treatment, and community kiosks that provide system of care agency information throughout the community.
Reconnecting Youth will serve 588 unduplicated participants over the five year life of the project.