Fairbanks Native Association (FNA), applying as Tribal Organization proposes Community Synergy, a suicide prevention and early prevention project that integrates these services into the community through to six new community service sites. It emphasizes cross-system collaboration to create a synergistic system of care. The target population is American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) ages 10-24.
AI/AN suicide devastates communities. A constellation of complex, interrelated factors contribute to the high suicide risk among AI/AN, including historical and intergenerational trauma, substance abuse, mental health disorders, violence, and socioeconomic and education disparities. The FNSB AI/AN suicide mortality rate is nearly twice that of all Alaskans and more than triple the national rate.
A single agency cannot realistically address this challenge. A community solution is needed to decrease the rates of suicide. Working together, the FNA-sponsored 18-member community coalition, the Interagency Transition Council (ITC) and FNA are ideally placed to oversee community expansion and integration of suicide prevention and intervention services at six new service sites. The FNA sponsored 18 member ITC, serving as the local AI/AN behavioral health system of care, will select six new service sites from its system of care provider members, at which FNA will provide suicide prevention and intervention services. This will create community synergy wherein the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. The ITC membership includes the following service domain, any of which could be selected for this community project: Substance Abuse, Mental Health, Juvenile Justice, Child Welfare and Foster Care, Housing, Education (including Early Childhood Education) and Employment, Health (Primary Care) and Cultural Spiritual.
The goals of Community Synergy are 1) increase the number of youth-serving organizations (by six) able to identify and refer youth at risk of suicide; 2) increase the capacity of clinical service providers to assess, manage, and treat youth at risk of suicide (FNA and our sister health corporation, Tanana Chiefs provide clinical services); 3) improve the continuity of care and follow-up of youth at risk for suicide including those discharged from emergency rooms and the state inpatient psychiatric unit through Case Management Services; and 4) increase intervention and prevention training to includes suicide risk and protective factors, the Evidence-Based Practice for identifying youth at risk (QPR Gatekeeper Training), post-vention, and other suicide and substance abuse prevention training to the ITC providers and other community agencies and individuals.
Community Synergy will serve approximately 350 unduplicated individuals per year (less in years one and five due to project start-up and close-out) and 1575 unduplicated individuals throughout the life of the project (five years). It uses multiple coordinated strategies and activities. It integrates early intervention and assessment services into the service system of care, establishes a response system to ensure timely referrals incorporating safety planning and prevention services that address risk and protective factors. It collects and analyzes data to monitor effectiveness of services, provides post-suicide intervention services, and provides immediate support, information, and resources to families of youth at risk or families of youth who have attempted suicide. It trains and supports staff at six local youth-serving agencies in suicide prevention and intervention and reducing access to lethal means. It interrupts the cycle of suicide in the community.