Suicide Clusters in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities

$4.50 | CE Hours:1.50 | Intermediate


CE Course Description

American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) adolescents and young adults have alarmingly high suicide rates and are at greater risk for suicide contagion and cluster formation than other age demographics.  This CE course provides research on suicide clusters and contagion in general and within AI/AN communities, and includes discussions with several subject matter experts and interviews with representatives from the CDC and the Indian Health Service.

Author: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  Suicide Clusters within American Indian and Alaska Native Communities: A review of the literature and recommendations.  HHS Publication No. SMA17-5050.  Rockville, MD: Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2017.

Retrieved from:

CE Course Objectives

1.  Show how the AI/AN communities face a perfect storm that contribute to the formation and spread of suicide clusters among youth.

2.  Explain under what conditions a response plan should be implemented.

3.  Provide three recommendations for how parents and communities should talk about suicide.

4.  Identify the individuals at the greatest risk of contagion.

5.  Describe the advantage of tribal surveillance systems.


CE Outline with Main Points

1.  AI/AN Suicide and Suicide Clusters Background

2.  Prevence

a.  Suicidal Behaviors

b.  Clusters

3.  Suicide Clusters and Contagion: Terminology and Concepts

a.  Background

b.  Definitions

c.  Mechanisms of Suicide Clusters

4.  Risk and Protective Factors

a.  Background

b.  Risk Factors

c.  Developmental Factors

d.  Protective Factors

5.  The Role of Media and Other Communication Sources during Suicide Clusters

a.  Media and Technology

b.  Media / Communication Guidelines

6.  AI/AN Community Involvement

a.  Develop a Community Response Plan

b.  Educational Meetings

c.  Individual and Group Counseling for Affected Peers

d.  Screening High-Risk Individuals

e.  Responsible Media Reporting of Suicide Clusters

f.  Promotion of Health Recovery within the Community to Prevent Further Suicides

7.  Considerations for Suicide Cluster Identification and Intervention with AI/AN Communities

a.  Recognize / Acknowledge Tribal Differences

b.  Culturally Relevant Strategies and Interventions

c.  Intergenerational Separation

d.  Marginalization and Hopelessness

e.  Normalization of Suicide

f.  Systems of Care / Help Seeking

8.  Proposed Recommendations: Suggestions to Better Support AI/AN Communities

a.  Funding

b.  Modifying the CDC Guidelines

c.  Specific Recommendations

d.  Prodiving Supplemental Training and Materials



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Added On: 2018-04-30

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