The Pinoleville Pomo Nation Healing Native Youth Minds Project is funded by the Indian Health Services under The Substance Abuse & Suicide Prevention Initiative (SASP).

  • According to the national research data, Native teens experience the highest rate of suicide in any population groups in the United States.
  • Suicide in the second leading cause of death and 2.5 times the national rate for American Indian/Alaskan Natives youth in the 15-24 age group.
  • Adolescent AI/NA have death rates 2 to 5 times the rate of whites in the same age group, resulting from  higher levels of suicide and risky behavior.
  • According to the most recent data provided by the PPN Wellness Recovery Program, 19% of Youth in Mendocino ages 15-24 reported methamphetamine usage.
  • Only 1 out of 8 of American Indians/Native Alaskans adults in need of alcohol or illicit drug use treatment in the past year received treatment at a specialty facility

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF Healing Native Youth Minds Project?

The Pinoleville Pomo Nation Healing Native Youth Minds Project will primarily serve Native American Youth ages 8-24 in our area to promote early intervention strategies and implement positive youth development programming to reduce risk factors for methamphetamine usage & suicide behavior. The project will also engage Native American families to reduce both of these risk factors.

The first step is to call our office at (707) 462-7801 or call the:

North Bay Suicide Prevention 24 hour Hotline of Mendocino County
1 (855) 587-6373
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1 (800) 273-8255

What are some of the Services we Provide?

The Pinoleville Pomo Nation Healing Native Youth Minds Project will be providing the following services to youth ages 8-24.

  • Youth Basketball League
  • Youth Talking Circles
  • Family Cultural Camp Out
  • Youth Camp Out
  • School Prevention Activities
  • Gathering of Native American Event
  • Youth Leadership
  • Train Adults and Youth in Question, Persuade and Referral (QPR) and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASSIST).
  • Community Prevention Education Workshop
  • Award Ceremonies

What are some of the Warning Signs ?
Reach out if someone is:

  • Feeling like a burden to others
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Talking about feelings of hopelessness
  • Searching for methods online
  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain

How Can I Help?
If someone you know is exhibiting any of the warning signs listed above, here are some things you can do to help.

  • Ask directly if your friend is thinking about suicide.
  • Be willing to listen. Allow their expressions of feelings, and accept those feelings.

Be non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life. Focus on being present with their feelings.

  • Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
  • Check in with your friend regularly. Schedule times to talk for the next week when you will both be available, to see how they are doing.
  • Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you. Be patient with yourself and the situation.
  • Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer superficial reassurance.
  • Take action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills or get help from agencies specializing in  crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
  • Encourage (and offer to accompany) your friend to seek help and support from a crisis specialist,  therapist, doctor and/or prevention specialist.
  • Show them the safety or “crisis coping plan” on the Lifeline web site, and talk together about your friend  can use this to help him/her to cope in these difficult moments.

My name is Gabriel Ray I am currently the Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the Pinoleville Pomo Nation Healing Native Youth Minds project. I studied Business Management at Mendocino College. I have worked for tribal communities my entire professional career. I am a tribal member of the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians and am currently an elected councilman for the Scotts Valley Tribe. My first experience working with tribal communities was helping my uncle take care of the water system on the Hopland Indian Reservation. I was only 10 years old at the time and would measure the water in the storage tanks, test the water for bacteria, and then chlorinate the water. This is where I received my first sense of what it is to work for the benefit of your community. I have since, worked for many different tribes and under many different programs.
     I am blessed to have my career revolve around working to better the lives of native families. I believe early intervention allows for the necessary support needed to help keep our youth on a positive path into their futures. We need to reach out to as many native parents as we can and support them in being strong roles models for our native youth. We need communities of role models not the negativity that dominates much of our native communities.
     There is a lot of hopelessness in the lives of many native youth in today’s world. It is my vision for all native people to live lives like we once lived with strong family values, rich in culture, and free of drugs and alcohol. I dedicate myself in providing help to Natives American families as well as to non-native professionals and programs that lack the resource and knowledge to serving the Native youth of Lake and Mendocino County and all of Indian country.
Let’s support our leaders of tomorrow today!

Gabriel Ray – Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention Coordinator