The Native Connection Project will build upon an array of integrated services that will reduce mental health and substance abuse disorders and ultimately prevent suicides amongst targeted youth up 24 years of age. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) scores are closely correlated with health and social disparities such as alcoholism, diabetes and unemployment.
The Native Connections Project will introduce resiliency skills to those at greatest risk and will build upon a foundation of successful suicide prevention programs and comprehensive health and mental healthcare of the Cow Creek Tribal Behavioral Health Program.
Located in Southern Oregon, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians has experienced hundreds of years of intergenerational trauma. Trauma is a potential causative factor for long term distress, substance abuse and suicide amongst American Indian and Alaska Native communities. The Tribe's 7-county service area is one of the largest in the nation and is home to over 1,000 tribal members. Suicide rates within this service area is one of the largest in the State with an average of 20 suicides per month for all Oregonians living within the area.
The 2014 Oregon Student Wellness Survey (SWS) reported Cow Creek youth grades 6, 8 and 11 to be at an increased risk for ACEs versus other community youth with a 12.1% higher reporting of feeling sad or hopeless in the past 2 or more weeks and a 29.2% increase in actually attempting suicide.
The Native Connections Project's goals will be to reach an estimated 2,000 tribal member families and local community members within the 5-year project implementation period with the first 500 individuals being reached at the end of the Year 1 Kick-Off Event. The project will produce a cascade of trauma-informed awareness events, identification of youth and young adults primarily though the tribal clinics, resiliency skills taught at school, after school boys/girl club and tribal youth center and activities.