Beliefs about causal factors for suicide in rural Alaska Native communities and recommendations for prevention

Rural Indigenous communities in Alaska suffer staggeringly high rates of suicide. In close-knit Alaska Native villages, each suicide leaves a trail of affected family and community members in its wake. This research aimed to understand community perceptions of what causes suicide in rural Alaska Native villages and generate recommendations for prevention strategies. In-depth interviews were […]

Getting into trouble: Perspectives on stress and suicide prevention among Pacific Northwest Indian youth

Suicide rates among Indian youth in the United States are two to three times the national average. Although researchers have identified related risk and protective factors, they have limited understanding of the perspectives of youth at risk. In this descriptive, ethnographic study in a Pacific Northwest tribe, the goal was to gain an understanding of […]

Being useful: Achieving Indigenous youth involvement in a community-based participatory research project in Alaska

Objectives: To report on a participatory research process in southwest Alaska focusing on youth involvement as a means to facilitate health promotion. We propose youth-guided community-based participatory research (CBPR) as way to involve young people in health promotion and prevention strategizing as part of translational science practice at the community-level. Study design: We utilized a CBPR approach […]

A culturally informed approach to American Indian/Alaska Native youth suicide prevention. In N. Zane, G. Bernal, & F. T. L. Leong (Eds.). Evidence-based psychological practice with ethnic minorities: Culturally informed research and clinical strategies

According to scholarly accounts, suicide has disproportionately affected the American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) population for well over half a century. Since the introduction of the Garrett Lee Smith Act of 2004, various forms of evidence-based intervention (EBI) efforts within AI/AN communities have attempted to combat this devastating epidemic. Though well-intentioned and scientifically sound, these interventions […]

Multi-level cultural intervention for the prevention of suicide and alcohol use risk with Alaska Native youth: A non-randomized comparison of treatment intensity

Suicide and alcohol use disorders are primary determinants of health disparity among Alaska Native people in contrast to the US general population. Qungasvik, a Yup’ik word for toolbox, is a strengths-based, multi-level, community/cultural intervention for rural Yup’ik youth ages 12-18. The intervention uses “culture as intervention” to promote reasons for life and sobriety in young […]

Suicide clusters within American Indian and Alaska Native communities: A review of the literature and recommendations

The purpose of this report is to examine what is known about suicide clusters within American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations and to use that information to develop recommendations for stakeholders working to prevent and contain suicide clusters within AI/AN communities. This paper provides the results of the review based on: (1) the research on […]

Making a difference: How Northwest Alaska is working to reduce youth suicide.

International circumpolar policy leaders are now paying attention to Indigenous youth suicide. In a recent report by the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group (2015), they note the global burden of suicide, and write: Nowhere, however, does suicide have such an impact and social burden as among indigenous populations, particularly those in circumpolar regions. Historically, […]

Recasting the net: Promoting wellness to prevent suicide in Alaska.

This is Recasting the Net: Promoting Wellness to Prevent Suicide in Alaska, the 2018-2022 statewide suicide prevention plan. The plan is comprised of six overarching goals, several strategies for reaching each goal, helpful resources for individuals and communities related to achieving each goal, and measurable benchmarks to evaluate progress. Goal 1: Alaskans Accept Responsibility for Preventing Suicide […]

Demographic, clinical, and service utilization factors associated with suicide-related visits among Alaska Native and American Indian adults.

Alaska Native and American Indian people (AN/AIs) are disproportionately affected by suicide. Within a large AN/AI health service organization, demographic, clinical, and service utilization factors were compared between those with a suicide-related health visit and those without. Cases had higher odds of a behavioral health diagnosis, treatment for an injury, behavioral health specialty care visits, […]

A protective factors model for alcohol abuse and suicide prevention among Alaska Native youth.

This study provides an empirical test of a culturally grounded theoretical model for prevention of alcohol abuse and suicide risk with Alaska Native youth, using a promising set of culturally appropriate measures for the study of the process of change and outcome. This model is derived from qualitative work that generated an heuristic model of […]

Patterns of injury mortality among Athabascan Indians in Interior Alaska 1977-1987.


Risk factors for suicide at the community level — Alaska, 2003-2011.

The purpose of the current study was to investigate potential associations between selected community characteristics and suicide incidence in Alaska using ecological modeling. Contact us for a copy of this article, or view online at

Factors associated with Alaska Native fatal and nonfatal suicidal behaviors 2001-2009: trends and implications for prevention.

Suicide rates among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) young people are significantly higher than other ethnic groups in the United States. Not only are there great differences when comparing AI/AN rates and those of other Americans, some tribal groups have very low rates of suicide while other Native communities have much higher rates. Despite […]

American Indian/Alaskan Native youth suicide prevention and education programs.


Mortality trends among Alaska Native people: successes and challenges.

This article reports recent mortality data (2004Ð2008) for Alaska Native/American Indian (AN/AI) people, comparing mortality rates to US white rates and examines changes in mortality patterns since 1980.

Seasonal Differences in Suicide Birth Rate in Alaska Natives Compared to Other Populations

Seasonal differences in suicide birth rates among Alaska Natives & for populations at different latitudes (resident of the Yukon, Saskatchewan, Montana, Wyoming, & Pennsylvania) were investigated. Seasonal birth rates for the general population were similarly examined. Suicide birth rates showed small seasonal variations for Alaska Natives with summer births showing more suicides. However, at lower […]

Mending the net: suicide prevention in Alaska

Annual report of state of Alaska’s Statewide Suicide Prevention Council.

Identifying Colonial Discourses in Inupiat Young People’s Narratives as a way to Understand the No Future of Inupiat Youth Suicide

Alaska Native youth suffer disproportionately from suicide. Some researchers explain this by pointing to social disintegration brought on by rapid social change, but few make the connection to an ongoing colonialism explicit. This paper articulates some of the ways that colonial discourses affect Inupiat young people’s self-conceptions, perceived choices, &, consequently, their behavioural health. Inupiat […]

Hope and Resilience: Suicide Prevention in the Arctic. November 7-8, 2009 Conference Report

This seminar was the second gathering of suicide prevention professionals working in Arctic regions. The seminar examined what is working in suicide prevention & what makes it works – as well as generating attention to the importance of mental & physical well-being in the Arctic. This report has 7 sections: background; understanding the problem; best […]

An Analysis of Hospital Visits During the 12 Months Preceding Suicide Death in Northern Alaska

This retrospective case-control study examined suicide among Alaska Native males living in a northern Alaska region in an attempt to identify the frequency & nature of contact with medical staff during the 12 months preceding suicide. Results show that during the last year of life, victims were 2.75 times as likely to have any contact […]

Epidemiological and Follow-Back Study of Suicides in Alaska


Suicide Prevention as a Community Development Process: Understanding Circumpolar Youth Suicide Prevention Through Community Level Outcomes


Firearm-Related Deaths in the Alaska Native Population

A manual & computer search of Alaska Native death certificates for firearm-related fatalities from 1990-1992 was conducted. During this 3-year period, 116 Alaska Natives lost their lives due to firearm injuries; 88 (76%) of these deaths were suicides. Data from this study indicates Alaska Native firearm victims are most at risk of dying by suicide […]