Hope for Life Day Toolkit
The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance) is a public-private partnership that was formed to help reduce suicide in the United States and its American Indian/Alaska Native Task Force focuses on reducing suicide in among this population.
To help advance the Action Alliance’s priority to change the public conversation about suicide, the American Indian/Alaska Native Task Force developed National American Indian/Alaska Native Hope for Life Day, which coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10. They also developed the National Hope for Life Day Toolkit to help community leaders, grassroots organizers, and health care professionals working in American Indian/Alaska Native communities implement a community-wide Hope for Life Day.
This toolkit will help community organizers take specific steps to change the conversation about suicide, spread awareness, and foster hope to help address suicide in their communities. Organizers are encouraged to host culturally tailored activities to promote hope, life, cultural connection, and community transformation. Examples of cultural activities can be found in “Ideas for Implementing Cultural Activities,” which is in the Toolkit Elements section below.
On June 30, 2015, the National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH), in partnership with the Action Alliance’s American Indian/Alaska Native Task Force, put forward a resolution at the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Mid-Year Conference in St. Paul, Minnesota. The resolution, “Creating an Annual National American Indian and Alaska Native Hope for Life Day (Suicide Prevention Awareness Day),” was the outcome of a one-year collaborative effort by task force members.
The purpose of the resolution was to request a U.S. presidential proclamation that a National American Indian/Alaska Native Hope for Life Day would be held each year on September 10, which is during Suicide Prevention Week. The resolution encourages collaboration with federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service, Bureau of Indian Education and Bureau of Indian Affairs within the Department of Interior, and Department of Education. It also encourages collaboration with national Indian and non-Indian organizations and other groups. NCAI’s Health Subcommittee and Human Resources Committee deliberated, amended, and passed the resolution.
Although a presidential proclamation still has not been achieved, this resolution advances the strategy of engaging American Indian/Alaska Native communities in healing through National Hope for Life Day. The goal of the observance is to highlight the disparities in suicide between American Indian/Alaska Native people and other racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. in order to empower change and create hope in communities.
Click here to access the final resolution passed at the 2015 NCAI Mid-Year Conference.
Fact Sheets and Data
- SPRC: Scope of the Problem
- SPRC: Accessing Data about Suicidal Behavior among American Indians and Alaska Natives
- NCUIH Knowledge Resource Center Fact Sheets
Tips and Ideas for Hope for Life Day Activities
- Ideas for Implementing Cultural Activities
- Tips for Engaging Native Youth
- Tips and Strategies for Engaging Tribal Leaders
Ready to Use Templates
- Invitation Letter to Tribal Leaders to Participate in Hope for Life Day Event
- Request Letter to Tribal Leaders to Draft and Sponsor a Hope for Life Day
- Hope for Life Day Tribal Resolution
- Hope for Life Day Urban Indian Organizations Proclamation
- Hope for Life Day Event Invitation Letter for Use by Urban Indian Organizations
- Hope for Life Day Press Release
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
988 is the easy to remember three-digit dialing, texting, and chat code for anyone experience a suicidal or mental health related crisis. As the U.S.-based universal dialing code connecting individuals to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (now known as the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline)—a network of local crisis centers throughout the country—988 increases the accessibility and use of life-saving interventions and resources.
When someone calls, texts, or chats 988 for themselves or someone they know who is in crisis, they will be connected to a trained crisis counselor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year who will listen compassionately and non-judgmentally. It's important to note that the previous 1-800-273-8255 number will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis and will connect them with the same Lifeline network.
Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)
SPRC’s “American Indian/Alaska Native Settings webpage provides access to a wide range of suicide prevention resources for American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
The Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center offers training and technical assistance on mental and substance use disorders, suicide prevention, and mental health promotion for AI/AN communities. To Live to See the Great Day That Dawns is a guide to help AI/AN people develop effective and culturally appropriate suicide prevention programs. “American Indian and Alaska Native: Tribal Affairs is a webpage with links to many national resources on behavioral health, including suicide, that are helpful for American Indian/Alaska Native people.
Indian Health Service
IHS’ “Suicide Prevention and Care Program webpage provides information and links to resources on suicide prevention and care for Native people.
Native Connections is a five-year grant program that helps American Indian/Alaska Native communities identify and address the behavioral health needs of Native youth.
We R Native
We R Native is a website for and by Native youth on many health and mental health issues, including suicide. It includes both information and personal stories from Native youth. We R Native also hosts the Native Crisis Text Line, where anyone in crisis or needing help can simply text 'NATIVE' to 741741 and be immediatey connected with a trained crisis counselor. All support and resources shared will remain confidential.
Tribal Health: Reaching out InVolves Everyone
Tribal Health: Reaching out InVolves Everyone (THRIVE) is a suicide prevention project of the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board with a website that has resources for Native people throughout the U.S.
One Sky Center
One Sky Center is a national resource center with a focus on improving prevention and treatment of mental health and substance abuse problems and services among Native people.
Zero Suicide in Indian Country
Zero Suicide is a highly effective framework for the creation of suicide-safer care that can be adapted to a range of health and behavioral health care systems. However, implementing the framework in Indian Country has led to challenges related to culture, language, or concepts of what healing and wellness may mean to the Tribe or the community, as well as difference in resources and views of standardized measurement and data gathering. The Best and Promising Practices for the Implementation of Zero Suicide in Indian Country aims to serve as a specialization step for health systems in Indian Country who are looking for guidance on how to implement the Zero Suicide framework in culturally relevant ways.