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New Toolkit Offers Ways to Evaluate Suicide Prevention Efforts in Arctic Communities

Science Update

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), in collaboration with the Mental Health Innovation Network and other federal partners, has released the RISING SUN toolkit to help clinicians, communities, policymakers, and researchers measure the impact and effectiveness of suicide prevention efforts in rural and tribal communities.

Reducing the Incidence of Suicide in Indigenous Groups – Strengths United through Networks (RISING SUN) was a featured initiative of the 2015-2017 U.S. Arctic Council Chairmanship. Through this initiative, researchers produced several tools and resources to support its goal: To generate shared knowledge that will aid the implementation of effective suicide prevention strategies in Indigenous communities.

"The RISING SUN toolkit is a significant achievement because it provides information on the determinants of suicide across the Arctic," said Roberto Delgado, Jr., Ph.D., Program Chief of NIMH's Rural Mental Health Research Program. "The goal is to expand Arctic states' capacity to evaluate the implementation of evidence-based interventions to combat suicide—and ultimately save lives."

The toolkit, which was developed through engagement with Indigenous Peoples' organizations across the Arctic, includes:

  • background on suicide prevention efforts in Arctic Indigenous communities;
  • strategies for addressing this public health threat;
  • lessons learned from communities that have successfully implemented effective suicide prevention interventions; and,
  • a collection of prioritized outcomes and available measures to assess the impact and effectiveness of suicide prevention interventions implemented across the Arctic.

To build on findings from the RISING SUN initiative, with co-funding from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, NIMH established the Collaborative Hubs to Reduce the Burden of Suicide among American Indian and Alaska Native Youth. The goal of the hubs is to conduct research focused on reducing the burden of suicide and promoting resilience among American Indian and Alaska Native youth. One of the products of these efforts is the online toolkit, with interventions to combat suicide across the Arctic.

NIMH was the technical lead on the RISING SUN initiative, which included interagency coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of State, the Office of Global Affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The initiative also included international collaboration with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Inuit Circumpolar Council, National Institute of Public Health (University of Southern Denmark), and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

To view the toolkit, visit http://www.mhinnovation.net/collaborations/rising-sun.

To read more about the RISING SUN initiative at NIMH, visit https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/organization/gmh/risingsun/index.shtml.