Urban American Indian/Alaska Native youth suffer higher rates of depression, which can be attributed to isolation from tribal lands and identity, lack of adequate mental health care, and financial instability. They are often geographically dispersed and disconnected from other urban AI/AN youth. Overcome with a high prevalence of alcoholism, and increased risk for suicide and mental health issues, the need for better systems of care and improved community capacity to support urban AI/AN youth is a high priority.
Through a Native Connections cooperative agreement with SAMSHA, the National Council of Urban Indian Health’s (NCUIH) Supporting Urban Native Youth (SUNY) program proposes to build the capacity of urban communities to assist urban youth to live healthy lives through community support.
Through the development of a National Urban Indian Youth and Young Adult Advisory Council, NCUIH seeks to support young people in becoming advocates and leaders for the urban Indian health sector and community, specifically around the areas of youth suicide and substance abuse prevention and recovery support to AI/AN young people under 25.
The NCUIH Youth Advisory Council will promote peer-level awareness and support for youth and young adult AI/ANs living in urban areas. Youth Council members will promote awareness of substance misuse, trauma, suicide prevention, and mental health among peers on a local and national level, while gaining professional development skills, such as public speaking and project managment.