Native American Suicide Prevention Advisory Council

Robyn Atencio, LCSW

New Mexico suicide rates rank second in the United States. Native Americans continue to experience higher rates of suicide compared to the rest of the population. Because of these alarming facts and disproportionate rates among Native Americans, there is a real purpose behind the collective efforts of the Native American Suicide Prevention Tribal Advisory Council (TAC) and Honoring Native Life (HNL). Our work will focus on Indian children, families and communities.

Tribal leadership responded positively in the creation of the TAC. State legislation was passed and included language for TAC and its representation. Currently, there are nine members representing the All Pueblos Governors Council, the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos, the Ten Southern Indian Pueblos, the Jicarilla Apache Nation, the Off-Reservation population, the Mescalero Apache Tribe, the Eastern Navajo Nation, and two from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. Representatives for the Pueblos of Laguna and Zuni, and Western Navajo are pending appointments. The TAC looks forward to having these vacant seats filled this year.

Building culturally appropriate suicide prevention and post-vention resources for Native people in the state is the overarching goal of HNL. We are focused on three areas: building capacity; supporting community-based projects; and providing student development through mentorship.

As Chair of the Council, I speak on behalf of all TAC members that our eyes, ears and hearts remain committed to the success of this initiative. I encourage you to contact me at robsatencio@hotmail.com at (505) 241-9316 with your ideas, concerns or recommendations to improve this statewide initiative, outreach and engagement. Thank you for your involvement, commitment and passion toward our effort.