Do You Think Nobody Cares?

We DO care!  Here is a hug for YOU!

And, we all must reach out and help our friends, family and community.
Grab a friend and hug them—they don’t think anybody cares either. Show them YOU care.  Life is a gift, it is sacred, and we must nurture it.
When we “see” a friend hurting, we must “reach out”, and show them we are there for them.  Don’t be afraid to ask them if they are thinking of ending their lives.  Do not leave them alone.  QPR is a simple but effective intervention strategy.
Question:  Ask them if they are considering taking their own lives
Persuade:  Persuade the person to get help and,
Refer:  Help them get to the appropriate counselor or support (This is a good read about QPR and training for how to “intervene”)

What is QPR?  (Question, Persuade and Refer)

With QPR, the following Chain of Survival elements must also be in place:

  • Early recognition of suicide warning signs. The sooner warning signs are detected and help sought, the better the outcome of a suicide crisis will be.
  • Early QPR. Asking someone about the presence of suicidal thoughts and feelings opens up a conversation that may lead to a referral for help.
  • Early intervention and referral. Referral to local resources or calling 1-800-Suicide for evaluation and possible referral is critical, as most people thinking about suicide are suffering from an undiagnosed and/or untreated mental illness or substance abuse disorder for which excellent treatments exist. Also, the offering of hope and social and spiritual support can often avert a suicide attempt.
Crisis Intervention:
Intervention IS Prevention, and yet, “in crisis”, we must have a plan, and, act! There are many prevention and crisis intervention plans available on-line, i.e., the U.S. Government Centers for Disease Control: (a youth-friendly and comprehensive website dealing with prevention and intervention issues—the focus is on the youth.
And, this is a review of a Native American intervention program:
Healing of Nations ( offers some Native American specific suggestions for consideration in creating an Intervention program.  Black Bear states he is not a counselor, or, therapist—however, with over 27 years of working with suicide prevention and crisis intervention, he has acquired some understanding and wisdom.  Remember that each tribe and community is unique, and must assess it’s own social patterns and resources:
Crisis Intervention--Have a plan and act!

FIRST start with the young people. Include them in the planning. They need to be involved. Too often we plan for them and without them. The young people know the reason why other young people are taking their lives -- ASK THEM! They don't go to parents and authority figures when they are hurting. They go to each other and to good listeners. Remember this when you are doing suicide prevention and crisis intervention.

Social Networks

In crisis, reaction time is critical, especially if there has been an attempt to take one’s life, or, a completion. Friends and family are very high risk. We must intervene!!

If we want to reach out and intervene, we must pay attention to the way the youth are communicating!! Social networking has changed dramatically in the last ten years. Today, the electronic world provides almost instant connections through cellphones—texting, even more so than talking on the cellphone.

Bottom line is, again, if we are trying to intervene when there has been an attempt, or, completion, we must quickly confiscate the cellphone and go through the contacts and calls—get on their Facebook page and list of “friends”. They are now very high risk. Reach out, intervene, and save lives.


* The elements listed are critical for the development of an intervention plan and strategies. The specifics of each element vary from tribe to tribe and from community to community

The Tribe must support the efforts of an Intervention Team, or, any individual or organization that is working on intervention in a tribal community. It is NOT necessary that the Tribe be the one directing the work or doing the work. The Tribe must, however, explicitly or implicitly support any intervention work.

Tribal support may be shown by: 1. A resolution passed by the Tribe, 2. Other written evidence by the Chairperson and/or Tribal Council, 3. or, The selection and/or appointment of a Tribal Council member to serve on the Intervention Team.  Representation by the Tribal Council on the CRIT

* A Tribal Council member serving on the Intervention Team facilitates and promotes good communication between the Intervention Team and the Tribal government, and is a visible symbol of tribal involvement.

Mobilize, and Act

Community Crisis Intervention Team (CRIT)




Too often, a community is not prepared and must organize a Crisis Intervention Team (CRIT) under duress. In many cases, the cost may be lives lost.  They are in shock!  It is a psychic trauma --they need direction!  Give them tasks to lead them out of the darkness.  Suicides create particularly high-risk situations, because they are so volatile. There is a "clustering" or "copy cat" phenomenon that describes multiple suicides--which may be triggered by an attempt or successful suicide. Therein lies the dilemma and danger of not being prepared.




The purpose of a Tribal Crisis Intervention Team is to set in motion a community response to a crisis. The makeup of a CRIT may vary, however, it should include representatives from the following:

Tribal Council

Tribal Health Department

Community Health Representative (CHR)

Indian Health Service
     Mental Health Department (psychologist and social worker)
     Emergency Room (a physician and nurse)
     Ambulance team (EMT’s)

Police Department

Fire Department

High School and Mid-School (administrator, teacher, and counselor)

Spiritual Leaders (tribal elders, priests or ministers from various denominations)

Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Prevention Programs

Youth Centers or other youth programs

Peer counselors (these may be a trained team, and/or simply young people with proven leadership qualities, and/or good listeners, i.e., Natural Helpers which are peer counselors in the high schools--some mid-schools are now providing NH training)

Parents (several parents that have demonstrated leadership and commitment, and are trusted by the young people)

Communication and the ability to respond quickly are critical. From the above group, select an alert command group of 5-7 people who are reliable and available. This group and these individuals will be responsible for notifying others on the team.