FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 23, 2024

HHS Crisis Resources for Oklahoma

Nex-Benedict

In response to the death of Nex Benedict, a non-binary/two-spirit student in Owasso, Oklahoma, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has compiled resources related to mental health and youth crisis services, tools for youth-serving providers, and resources to preventing school-based bullying and violence. HHS stands in solidarity with the LGBTQI+ community and reaffirms its commitment to addressing discrimination, bullying, and violence in all its forms.

Crisis Mental Health Resources

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline  provides crisis support services to those in need of assistance. Individuals can reach specialized LGBTQI+ affirming counseling by texting Q to 988 or pressing 3 when calling 988.

Children and Family Services of Tulsa, OK , a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-funded organization, has made school-based therapy with therapists who are trained explicitly to support LGBTQ+ youth and young adults available. Its Crisis Hotline and mobile crisis team is able to respond to anyone in crisis in the local area. The website also includes general information for families, teens, children to who need to reach out for support.

National Runaway Safeline —The National Runaway Safeline is a 24/7 hotline, including text and chat, that responds to youth and families in crisis, serving as the national communications system for any youth who is being bullied, in crisis, thinking of running away, or homeless. The safeline is free, confidential, and will connect youth to resources in their community.

Stopbullying.gov—This website provides information from various government agencies on who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying.

Childhood Traumatic Grief: Information for School Personnel —This guide explains to school personnel how children often experience grief, as well as defining childhood traumatic grief, which children may experience after a disaster in which they lost a loved one. It lists signs of childhood traumatic grief and suggests ways for school personnel to help children who may be going through this kind of grief.

Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief: Tips for Caregivers  —This tip sheet explains how teens may experience traumatic grief, a type of grief that people may go through after a death that occurs as part of a disaster or other sudden or violent event. The tip sheet describes 10 ways that teens may feel, behave, and express themselves as they go through traumatic grief, and, for each reaction, it suggests ways for parents and other caregivers to offer support.

Helping Youth after Community Trauma: Tips for Educators  —In this 1-page tip sheet, NCTSN identifies 10 ways youth may react to community traumas such as natural or human-caused disasters and suggests ways for educators to respond to these reactions and support youth in coping. The tip sheet also advises educators to find professional mental health support for youth—and for themselves—as needed.

Talking to Children About Hate Crimes—This tip sheet explains the impacts incidents of violence and hate crimes can have on people of all ages and suggests ways for parents and others who care for children to talk to them about a hate crime. The tip sheet describes common reactions to hate crimes; emphasizes the importance of talking about safety with children; and encourages adults to talk openly with children about bias, prejudice, and discrimination.

After a School Tragedy . . . Readiness, Response, Recovery, & Resources—This resource created for schools highlights the importance of readiness, response, and recovery to ensure school community resilience after a school tragedy incident. It focuses on strategies to support student and family recovery after incidents of violence and trauma, explores the importance of culturally competent response, and provides resources for school community members.

CDC’s School Mental Health Action Guide provides school district and K-12 school leaders with strategies and resources to address mental health and well-being among students and staff.

Resources for Youth in Crisis and Youth-Serving Providers

Runaway Reality: Being Bullied At School  - A narrative description of resources available through the National Runaway Safeline told in the context of a young person being bullied at school because they were outed as LGBTQI+. The story provides the reader with resources available for young people experiencing similar situations.

Resources for Concerned Adults  - A series of resources for caring adults supporting a young person in crisis, including information about bullying and support for youth who identify as LGBTQI+.

Resources for Young People  - A series of resources for young people in crisis, including information about bullying and support for youth who identify as LGBTQI+.

Let’s Talk: Runaway Prevention Curriculum  has 14 modules that aid youth in building life skills so that they can resolve problems before resorting to less safe options. This is especially helpful for exploring topics that may seem difficult to discuss in a way that is constructive and respectful of people’s identities. Module 12: Sexuality and Sexual Orientation of Let’s Talk provide lessons for youth about discovering not only their sexual identity but their gender identity as well. The activities in Let’s Talk are very adaptable and can be used for a wide audience; there are other modules that can be used when teaching topics specific to transgender youth. Module 7: National Safe Connections teaches participants about National Safe Place as they define what a safe place looks like and feels like to them. The activity “A Safe Place” from Module 7 can be adapted to talk about issues trans youth may face at home and school while discussing what makes them feel safe. For example, one youth may feel safe at home while another person may feel safe while they are with their school club. This is important because everyone deserves to feel safe, and identifying these places helps youth know where to turn to if they are feeling unsafe.

We Think TwiceTM is a digital media campaign designed to help youth form healthy relationships, set goals for the future, and feel empowered to make healthy decisions. We Think Twice delivers engaging, interactive and entertaining games, quizzes, infographics, videos and more activities, specifically designed for youth 13—19 years old.

Mental Health Resources - A series of resources for young people seeking mental health supports.

Runaway and Homeless Youth Training, Technical Assistance, and Capacity Building Center :

Why Providers Should Screen Youth for Cyberbullying —A short blog encouraging providers to consider routinely screening youth for cyberbullying involvement; assessing youth who disclose cyberbullying experiences for mental health problems; and finding nonjudgmental ways to address the needs of perpetrators as well as victims.

Supporting and Affirming LGBTQI+ Youth and Young Adults —On November 16, 2023, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families issued an Information Memorandum - PDF  on Supporting Youth and Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness Who Identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit and Other Identities including Non-binary and Gender Nonconforming Youth and Young Adults (LGBTQI+). In coordination with the release of this IM, ACF also released a Tip Sheet - PDF  with detailed recommendations to identify actionable steps organizations can take to provide safe, supportive, and affirming services; outline ways individuals can contribute to a healthy and inclusive work environment; and provide organizations and programs with critical questions to consider in their role of creating equitable systems and improved outcomes for LGBTQI+ youth.

Preventing School-based Bullying and Violence

CDC’s Youth Violence Prevention Resource Guide - PDF provides a selection of strategies based on the best available evidence to help communities and states sharpen their focus on prevention activities with the greatest potential to prevent youth violence and its consequences.

The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends  school-based anti-bullying interventions to reduce bullying experiences and improve mental health among students. Systematic review evidence shows that when interventions are implemented in schools, students report fewer episodes of bullying perpetration, fewer episodes of bullying victimization, and fewer mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression.

CDC has published a Tip Sheet - PDF that provides an overview of electronic aggression, any type of harassment or bullying that occurs through e-mail, a chat room, instant messaging, a website (including blogs), or text messaging. It provides parents and caregivers with strategies for protecting children from this type of violence.

World Bullying Prevention Month: Cyberbullying —An awareness month blog that offers pertinent information on cyberbullying, including statistics, examples, and resources for young people facing cyberbullying.

Tribal Supports

Native youth face unique challenges every day. The Indian Health Service (IHS) works to ensure that Native Youth have access to health services in the communities where they live. IHS carries out this work by providing enhanced resources for health issues and developing better information regarding health needs.

Native Youth and Suicide Prevention and Postvention

The Indian Health Service is committed to increasing capacity and providing resources to address suicide among American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN).

The Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention Program (SASP), formerly known as MSPI, is a nationally-coordinated program focusing on providing substance abuse and suicide prevention and intervention resources for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The IHS awarded approximately $19.65 million to 108 projects to focus specifically on Native youth through MSPI Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) Support. The program focuses on: implementing evidence-based and practice-based approaches to build resiliency, promoting positive development, and increasing self-sufficiency behaviors among youth; promoting family engagement; increasing access to prevention activities for youth; and hiring additional behavioral health staff.

The IHS Suicide Prevention Program builds on the foundation of HHS's "National Strategy for Suicide Prevention" to reduce suicidal behavior and its consequences, while ensuring honor and respect for Tribal traditions and practices. For Educators and Clinicians: American Indian and Alaska Native Community Crisis Response Guidelines provide recommendations to address the importance of federal and tribal partnerships in addressing suicide behavior-related crises.

Hope for Life Day tools    from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, is designed for professional and grass-roots organizers working in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

For more resources, visit the IHS Suicide Prevention Program Resources page. 

Native Youth Mental Health

The Behavioral Health Integrative Initiative (BH2I) aims to plan, develop, implement, and evaluate behavioral health integration with primary care, community based settings, and/or integrating primary care, nutrition, diabetes care, and chronic disease management with behavioral health.

In December 2016, The Indian Health Service (IHS) entered into an agreement with the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) - PDF [PDF - 945 KB] to address the needs of Native youth by increasing access to mental and behavioral health services by allowing the Indian Health Service staff to treat youth attending BIE schools or youth held at BIA facilities. View the news release for more information.

IHS Trauma Informed Care focuses on the impacts of trauma and historical trauma on the physical, behavioral, and spiritual health of patients and providers and provides training on the impact of trauma.

The Indian Children's Program (ICP) provides training and telehealth consultation services for IHS, Tribal, and urban Indian health care providers to deliver health care to American Indian and Alaska Natives through age 18 with disabilities such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), autism, intellectual deficits, and mental health disabilities. These services use tele-video and web-based technology and are available nationwide.

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