Lessons Learned From a Community-Based Participatory Research Mental Health Promotion Program for American Indian Youth

Sarah E Langdon, Shannon L Golden, Elizabeth Mayfield Arnold, Rhonda F Maynor, Alfred Bryant, V Kay Freeman, Ronny A Bell
Health Promotion Practice 2016, 17 (3): 457-63
Background American Indian (AI) youth have the highest rates of suicide among racial/ethnic minority groups in the United States. Community-based strategies are essential to address this issue, and community-based participatory research (CBPR) offers a model to engage AI communities in mental health promotion programming. Objectives This article describes successes and challenges of a CBPR, mixed-method project, The Lumbee Rite of Passage (LROP), an academic-community partnership to develop and implement a suicide prevention program for Lumbee AI youth in North Carolina. Method LROP was conducted in two phases to (1) understand knowledge and perceptions of existing mental health resources and (2) develop, implement, and evaluate a cultural enrichment program as a means of suicide prevention. Discussion/Results LROP implemented an effective community-academic partnership by (1) identifying and understanding community contexts, (2) maintaining equitable partnerships, and (3) implementing a culturally tailored research design targeting multilevel changes to support mental health. Strategies formed from the partnership alleviated challenges in each of these key CBPR concept areas. Conclusions LROP highlights how a CBPR approach contributes to positive outcomes and identifies opportunities for future collaboration in a tribal community. Using culturally appropriate CBPR strategies is critical to achieving sustainable, effective programs to improve mental health of AI youth.

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