Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc. (CITC) proposes its Tribal Behavioral Health Grant Program (aka Native Connections) project to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). With the proposed project, CITC will reduce the prevalence of suicidal behaviors and the impacts of substance use disorders (SUDs), co-occurring disorders (CODs), and other mental health disorders among members of the population of focus (i.e., participants). Those members are Alaska Native and American Indian (AN/AI) youths who reside in the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) (the Municipality of Anchorage city-borough and the Matanuska-Susitna borough combined) in southcentral Alaska.
Currently, the Anchorage MSA has a significant lack of culturally appropriate (for AN/AI people) programming that adequately addresses its increasingly severe suicide, substance use, and mental health challenges. Because the Anchorage MSA is very heterogeneous in terms of population density, demographics, and available infrastructure, residents of Tribal and/or rural communities are often the last people to receive assistance and resources. Those residents are also disproportionately more likely to experience and to be affected by suicidal behaviors, substance dependencies, poverty, and unemployment.
The proposed project will incorporate 5 goals and 8 SMART objectives, which are closely aligned with the purposes of the Native Connections grant. The goals of the proposed project, which is designed for a 5-year project period, are provided below.
¿ Goal 1. Develop, revise, and disseminate (i) protocols for identifying and screening high-risk participants (especially those who have already attempted suicide and/or actively use substances), (ii) protocols for providing intervention, recovery, and follow-up services to those participants, and (iii) policies and procedures for coordinating more effectively with youth-serving organizations and agencies in the Anchorage MSA.
¿ Goal 2. Provide psychosocial screenings, intensive case management services, and referrals for mental health disorder (including SUD and COD) treatment to participants in the Anchorage MSA.
¿ Goal 3. Provide trauma-informed and culturally competent trainings on suicide and substance use prevention to youth-serving staff in the Anchorage MSA.
¿ Goal 4. Conduct trauma-informed, prevention-focused, and culturally appropriate wellness activities that strengthen positive Tribal cultural identity and provide mental health education for AN/AI youths and their families in the Anchorage MSA.
¿ Goal 5. Create and implement an enduring social norms campaign that promotes positive behaviors and encourages building strengths and developing resilience for AN/AI youth audiences in the Anchorage MSA.
CITC expects that its proposed project will have numerous positive outcomes for its participants and for the Anchorage MSA’s AN/AI Tribal communities in general. By the end of the 5-year project period, specifically, relevant protocols will be established between CITC and 3 partnering organizations, 250 unduplicated participants will receive direct intervention and recovery services, 30 internal and external youth-serving staff members will receive trainings on suicide and substance use prevention, 50 AN/AI youths (and their families) will attend wellness activities, and potentially hundreds of AN/AI youths will engage with an enduring social norms campaign. In total, 650 unduplicated individuals are expected to benefit from the grant funds.
The proposed project will be administered by CITC’s Recovery Services (RS) department and will utilize an existing Suicide Prevention Coordinator (1.0 FTE), who will also be the Project Director, and an existing Transition to Independence Process (TIP) Coordinator (1.0 FTE).