SPTHB is dedicated to improving the health of American Indian (AI) communities and is one of the first within Indian Country to prioritize male health.   As a selected participant and member of the “Making Connections for Mental Wellbeing Among Boys and Men Community of Practice, SPTHB plans to develop and implement an effective, comprehensive, youth-based suicide prevention program in combination a with culturally tailored, gender-specific stress resiliency curriculum. SPTHB is not alone in this effort, key partners from INTEGRIS Health and Men’s Health Network have joined in this collaborative effort to support and strengthen AI communities in their efforts to raise healthy AI males. This work, supported by the Movember Foundation and the Prevention Institute, will partner with local tribal communities to promote the male health agenda, including mental health, through community outreach, trainings, conferences and advocacy at a local and national level.

The goal of this program is to reduce adverse childhood experiences and downstream negative outcomes among the AI males through 1) enhancing services and support for suicide-prevention activities within local public schools throughout Oklahoma including Indian boarding schools 2) fostering an AI male youth mentoring program through academic and cultural enrichment activities and finally we will 3) develop outreach activities that will increase community awareness and participation to improve the health and wellbeing of AI males.

  1. Through our efforts on a community-based needs assessment, we conducted a focus group at the 8th Annual Tribal Public Health Conference. The focus group intended to identify those specific mental health needs and priorities of the boys and men within the Oklahoma Area Native population according to actual community members. Community members from various southern Plains tribes participating at the conference came together in a circle to address the mental health issues they see their boys and men enduring. All participants were there on their own accord and considered volunteers. Data from the focus groups was used to seek resources and extend partnerships that would provide culturally tailored support to the development of specific and targeted interventions that address the identified mental health problems.
  2. Attendance at the Prevention Institute Community of Practice convening in Oakland California. With support from the Movember Foundation, this convening brought together the Making Connections sites to advance an awareness of community-level trauma and opportunities to build resilience. The convening engaged participants in discussions to strengthen their coalitions and partnerships and move further upstream in implementing strategies that make a significant difference in the mental health and wellbeing of men and boys across the U.S.
  3. SPTHB and partners are in collaboration with local public schools and one Indian boarding school in the Anadarko area to empower youth to address and combat recent suicide contagion and its associated community trauma within these schools and the surrounding community. This program will create and sustain a youth-focused public health model within the schools and the local tribal community to ensure coordination of services in the prevention of suicide.

Our efforts aim to empower AI male youth to a healthy mind, body, and spirit.  Communities that have historically faced hardships and struggled with childhood experiences are all too prevalent. However, this work sets out to address, prevent and mitigate those challenges through the development and implementation of effective, comprehensive, culturallyappropriate interventions. Our efforts assist AI communities in the Oklahoma Area toset a new direction in how they engage and support the well-being of their boys and men.  Throughout implementation, our goal is to demonstrate the collaborative effort required to reduce mental health disparities suffered by our AI males.Our community initiative is based on shared values that extend beyond one community.  Our collaborative team recognizes that children of the AI community, as are all children of any community, are the most fundamental asset to improving the life and integrity of tribal nations.  For children to thrive, support systems must be in place to engage them physically and mentally.

  • A question submitted to the National Press Club pertaining to Native American men’s health was asked at the Burwell press conference on 1/9/17. This gave national attention to the scope of the Men’s Health grant.
  • Through partnerships and collaboration, a suicide prevention program will be implemented in an Indian boarding school in Oklahoma.

The Men’s Health grant was awarded to SPTHB in 2015 by the Prevention Institute through the Movember Foundation.

Southern Plains Tribal Health Board
Phone: (405) 652-9200
Fax: (405) 840-7052