Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


American Indian adolescent suicide rate is 3.4 times higher than all other ethnicities in the U.S., and more than 70% of adolescents with depression do not receive the proper diagnosis or treatment. An evaluation of current studies was conducted to find the most effective prevention programs and treatments for depression and suicide in this population. The review of literature consisted of a search of these databases Cochrane, Pubmed, and CINAHL. The key words used were: Native American, American Indian, adolescent, depression, suicide, and treatment. This review was limited to studies in the United States. A power point presentation was provided to master level nursing students along with an evidenced-based poster on the research findings. The master level nursing students were chosen to be given these findings as they are often the front line in assessing American Indian adolescents for signs and symptoms of depression and suicide. Thus, they need to be well informed regarding how essential their assessment is for this population. Risk factors for suicide ideation and suicide were found to vary from tribe to tribe with depression and alcohol usage being common factors everywhere. The protective factors for all areas include cultural identity and family and social support. The suicide rates vary as well from region to region with some areas above and some below the national average. Community and family based interventions were shown to reduce the risk of suicide. Every patient from pre-teen to adult needs to be assessed for depression and suicide with all interactions. When individuals assisting to develop or implement and effective suicide prevention program, one needs to remember that it must be culturally based and incorporate the values of that culture to be effective for treatment of depression to avoid the tragic outcome of suicide