Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Native youth ages 15-24 residing in IHS service areas and is the third leading cause of death of children aged 10-14 years. Exacerbated by factors such as extreme poverty, substance abuse and inadequate mental health service, suicidal deaths among American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) teens has reached the level of a crisis. In addition, many troubled Native adolescents choose to forego seeking help during times of distress due to privacy concerns, a sense of isolation, hopelessness and stigma. The present proposal will use emerging trends in interactive technology and Web 2.0 tools to develop ASPIRE (American Indian Suicide Prevention Interactive Resources) for Native youth in high schools. ASPIRE will offer schools and youth serving organizations, three distinct-yet complementary-resources: (a) an online modular, suicide prevention curriculum with multimedia activities that is customizable to the practitioner's needs and logistical constraints;(b) online training for teachers and practitioners to implement suicide prevention programming;(c) an online resource for Native teens that will promote knowledge, resilience, and help-seeking behavior among AI/AN teens and young adults. The goal of the ASPIRE project is to create a curriculum that is dynamic and engaging;is culturally-relevant to Native youth;is cost-effective, and most importantly, incorporates youth content and helps peer-to-peer connections within a safe, discreet and monitored community. ASPIRE will be based on the American Indian Life Skills (AILS) Development program, an evidenced-based intervention developed by Prof. Teresa LaFromboise that has been successfully replicated in multiple Native communities.
This project will develop and evaluate a multimedia, online suicide prevention resource for Native American high school youth. ASPIRE (American Indian Suicide Prevention Interactive Resources) integrates scientific evidence, best practice, and technology with a focus on teens'active participation both during and beyond the intervention. By using Web 2.0 technology and social media platforms to ease program implementation, cut costs and promote youth engagement, the project will facilitate a major goal of the Indian Health Services which is to expand implementation of telemedicine for behavioral health services, and educate IHS and tribal providers regarding the use and effectiveness of telemedicine for behavioral health services (DHHS 2011).