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The GLIIHC Youth Empowerment Program is a native youth program that aims to cultivate awareness and provide education on substance abuse and suicide prevention through activities for youth ages 7-19 years. The program utilizes a strengths based approach to foster empowerment, increase resilience, strengthen cultural identity, promote leadership skills, and support family engagement through a holistic approach to health and wellness.


GLIIHC's Suicide Prevention PSA - Click to Watch.
The Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center is here for you as a local and culturally informed resource to offer you support in a time of crisis. Any one of our staff is ready to listen and guide you towards help. 
-We will get through this together. -

Suicide Among American Indian / Alaskan Natives        

Native communities experience higher rates of suicide compared to all other racial and ethnic groups in the US.
  • Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death for American Indian and Alaska Natives across all ages.
  • For Native youth ages 10 to 24, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death – 2.5x higher than the national average.
  • These are the highest suicide rates across all ethnic and racial groups in the US.

Help and resources are available. Continue reading to learn about the risk factors and warning signs of suicide, which could help you save a life...  

Suicide Risk Factors  

Aspects of a person's life, condition, surroundings, behavior, and/or experiences that have the potential to increase their likelihood to struggle with suicidal thoughts.  

  • Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders
  • Alcohol and other substance use disorders
  • Hopelessness
  • Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
  • History of trauma or abuse
  • Major physical illnesses
  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • Stigma associated with asking for help
  • Lack of health care, mental health and substance abuse treatment
  • Cultural & religious beliefs
  • Family history of suicide
  • Job or financial loss
  • Loss of relationship(s)
  • Easy access to lethal means
  • Local clusters of suicide
  • Lack of social support and sense of isolation
  • Exposure to others who have died by suicide 
Additional Risk Factors For American Indian/Alaska Native People
  • A history of interpersonal violence/abuse
  • Unwillingness to seek help because of stigma 
  • Unemployment
  • Alcohol misuse/abuse
  • Economic instability and social disintegration
  • Perceived discrimination
  • Isolation on reservations, feeling cut off from other people
  • Local epidemics of suicide (called "Suicide Clusters")

Suicide Warning Signs 

An indication or early signal that someone may be struggling with suicidal thoughts. Learn to recognize these signs and have awareness of yourself and those you care about.

  • Hopelessness; feeling like there is no way out
  • Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, or mood swings
  • Feeling like there is no reason to live
  • Rage or anger
  • Engaging in risky activities
  • Increasing alcohol or drug abuse
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings

The presence of any of the following signs requires immediate attention:

  • Thinking about hurting or killing themselves
  • Reading or seeking information on ways to die
  • Talking about death, dying, or suicide
  • Showing hopelessness or expressing that they have no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped, being in unbearable pain, or a burden to others
  • Self-destructive or risk taking behavior, especially when it involves alcohol, drugs, or weapons

If you hear or see anyone with any one or more of these behaviors: TELL SOMEONE... a parent, teacher, family member, mental health professional, doctor, or call one of the national crisis hotlines. 

How To Talk About Suicide 


FALSE: The fear notion that just talking about suicide will plant the idea in someone's mind or make it happen.
FACT: Those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts generally feel a sense of relief when someone notices and directly asks the question; they no longer need to struggle in silence.


Take action and have the conversation...

ACT - Acknowledge, Care, Tell (SOS MindWise Model) 
Acknowledge: Acknowledge that you see signs of suicide in a friend or yourself.
Care: Show your friend/loved one you're worried about them and offer support. 
Tell: A trusted adult so you can get help. 

If you notice any warning signs for suicide, starting a conversation with the person may save their life.
  • Mention the warning signs that prompted you to ask the person about how they are feeling, the words used, or behavior displayed (signs make it more difficult to deny that something is wrong).
  • Letting them know you are there to support them and care: "I'm worried about you." or "I don't like seeing you upset." or "I want to help you." 
  • Ask about suicide directly: "Are you thinking about killing yourself?" or "Are you thinking about ending your life?"
    • *This leads to a clear yes/no answer. 
  • Do NOT say: "You're not thinking about killing yourself, are you?" or "You wouldn't do something stupid like kill yourself, would you?" 
    • *This can lead to the person to feel ashamed and close up and also tells them you will accept their denial, which does not help them.
  • Validate their experience
    • Talk openly
    • Don't panic
    • Be willing to listen and allow emotional expression
    • Recognize that the situation is serious
    • Don't pass judgment
    • Reassure that help is available
    • Don't promise secrecy
    • Don't leave the person alone
  • GET HELP! Share resources with them and be willing to make or take part in the phone call, or offer to go with them to see a professional when they are ready.
  • If the situation is critical - call 911 or if you feel safe to do so, drive them to the closest emergency room. 
  • Do NOT put yourself in danger. If you feel they are a danger to themselves or others, have a firearm or other deadly weapon ready to use, or you are concerned about your own safety, call 911.

GET HELP: National Resources

If you, or a friend / family member are in immediate danger - CALL 911. 
There is 24/7, free and confidential support, prevention and crisis resources available through national crisis hotlines, text services and online chat forums for those struggling with suicide or in distress. 

GET HELP: At the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center

If you, or a friend / family member are in immediate danger - CALL 911. 
There is local support available here at GLIIHC for those struggling with suicide or in a mental health crisis. Our behavioral health clinic provides crisis intervention, counseling services, therapeutic groups, and resources. 

Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center, Inc. 
930 West Historic Mitchell Street 
Milwaukee, WI 53204
Main: (414)383-9526   |   Fax: (414)649-2711

GLIIHC, Department of Behavioral Health
*We also have specialized Child & Family Services within the Dept. of BH.
Direct: (414)316-5004   |   Behavioral Health Fax: (414)671-6606
“Our behavioral health mission is to meet the emotional and mental health needs of Urban Indians and loved ones with respect and sensitivity to their culture.”

Native Youth Suicide Prevention Team

Stacey HollisterYouth & Family Prevention Program Coordinator 
Direct: (414)316-5050   |   Email:
“The MSPI Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) is a native youth program that aims to cultivate awareness and provide education on substance abuse and suicide prevention through project activities for youth ages 7-19 years.”
Maria FariasNative Connection MKE Suicide Prevention Coordinator
Direct: (414)316-5074   |   Email:
Native Connection MKE thrives to reduce suicidal behavior among Native youth and provide support as they transition into adulthood.”
Please reach out to us. You are not alone. We care and are ready to listen. Your life has are here for a reason.
-We will get through this together.-
-The GLIIHC Youth Empowerment Program (YEP)-
Serving Native American youth & families in the greater Milwaukee area.
To register a native youth age (7-19) with YEP services, email or call Stacey Hollister at (414)316-5050.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline  |  Crisis Text Line  |  National Drug Helpline  |  Trevor Project

Follow The Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) on social media! 

Copyright © 2020, GLIIHC Youth Empowerment Program. All rights reserved.

Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center, Inc.
930 W Historic Mitchell St. 
Milwaukee, WI 53204
(414) 383-9526

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Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center · 930 W Historic Mitchell St · Milwaukee, WI 53204-3533 · USA

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