The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) aired a webinar addressing the issues of Bullying Prevention and Suicide Prevention for Schools on July 28, 2015. This webinar provided an overview of the risk and impact of bullying and suicide in school-aged children, and highlighted the connection between these two public health issues within the framework of the “whole child” concept. The “whole child” concept aims to ensure that each child, in each school, in each community is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.
According to the webinar, bullying has been reduced from 28% in 2011 to 22% in 2013 and cyber bullying has been reduced from 9% in 2011 to 6.9% in 2013. However, bullying remains a major risk factor related to suicide, which is the second leading cause of death for Native American Youth ages 10-24 years old. SAMHSA’s Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center offers numerous online resources and webinars that address SAMHSA’s mission to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on American Indian communities.
The Bullying Prevention and Suicide Prevention for Schools webinar is part of SAMHSA’s new digital approach, which also includes prevention-based mobile apps “Knowing Bullying” and “Suicide Safe“, among other useful tools and resources. The Knowing Bullying App helps parents, caregivers, and educators have important conversations about bullying with children who are being bullied, witnessing bullying, or bullying others. The Suicide Safe App is a suicide prevention resource that helps health care provider’s accesses suicide risk and assists with making referrals to treatment and community resources as needed.
These resources are free of charge and are great examples of the ways in which health innovation and technology can address critical issues in Indian Country.