Collaboratively Adapting Culturally-Respectful, Locally-Relevant Suicide Prevention for Newly Participating Alaska Native Communities

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.33043/JSACP.14.1.124-151

Keywords:

: Community Based Participatory Research, Alaska Native, suicide, knowledge translation, implementation science

Abstract

Because suicide is deeply connected to local, historical and relational contexts, effective suicide prevention strategies must balance maintaining fidelity of evidence-based practices and adapting for the unique needs of diverse communities. Promoting Community Conversations About Research to End Suicide (PC CARES) builds the capacity of local people in close-knit rural Alaska Native communities to take preventative actions based on existing relationships, roles, and priorities. In a series of learning circles, community members learn about multilevel evidence-based suicide prevention practices, apply the information to personal and cultural contexts, and develop plans for taking action—on their own terms—in their lives. Here, we describe the participatory process used to adapt PC CARES from one region of Alaska to another, aiming to maximize transferability, practicality and relevance in our partner communities. With the shared goal of promoting self-determined, evidence-informed, community-based suicide prevention, the adaptation process included negotiating between comprehensiveness and understandability; subject appeal and utility; predictability and customizability, through consensus-building with researchers and community members. Lessons learned can be helpful to others working to navigate community-specific priorities and evidence-based approaches to develop interventions that can work across many different communities.

Author Biographies

Lisa Wexler, University of Michigan

Lisa Wexler, Ph.D, MSW is a Professor of Social Work and a Research Professor at the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.

Tara Schmidt, University of Michigan

Tara Schmidt, MPH is a PC CARES research associate at the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan based in Homer, AK.

Lauren White, University of Michigan

Lauren White, MPH, MSW, is a Ph.D student in social work and psychology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.

Caroline C. Wells, McGill University

Caroline C. Wells, MSc, is a Ph.D student in mental health at McGill University in Montréal, QC, Canada.

Suzanne Rataj, University of Massachusetts

Suzanne Rataj, MPH, is a research associate at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA.

Roberta Moto, Maniilaq Association

Roberta Moto, BA, is the Director of wellness programs at Maniilaq Association in Deering, AK.

Tanya Kirk, Maniilaq Association

Tanya Kirk, BA, is the Native Connections Coordinator at Maniilaq Association in Noatak, AK.

Diane McEachern, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Diane McEachern, Ph.D, LCSW, MSW is a professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Kuskokwim Campus in Bethel, AK.

Published

2022-09-08

How to Cite

Wexler, L., Schmidt, T., White, L., Wells, C. C., Rataj, S., Moto, R., Kirk, T., & McEachern, D. (2022). Collaboratively Adapting Culturally-Respectful, Locally-Relevant Suicide Prevention for Newly Participating Alaska Native Communities. Journal for Social Action in Counseling & Psychology, 14(1), 124–151. https://doi.org/10.33043/JSACP.14.1.124-151