American Indian Life Skills Development

MODALITY: curriculum

For more information on the program, visit The Suicide Prevention Center. The manual is available via several online/bookstore options and can also be purchased here.


A school-based, culturally sensitive, suicide-prevention program for American Indian adolescents, also known as Zuni Life Skills Development. Themes this program covers 1) building self-esteem, 2) identifying emotions and stress, 3) increasing communication and problem-solving skills, 4) recognizing and eliminating self-destructive behavior, 5) information on suicide, 6) suicide intervention training, and 7) setting personal and community goals. The curriculum also incorporates three domains of well-being that are specific to tribal groups: 1) helping one another, 2) group belonging, and 3) spiritual belief systems and practices. Lessons are interactive and incorporate situations and experiences relevant to AI/AN adolescent life such as friendship issues, rejection, divorce, separation, unemployment, and problems with health and the law.

Rubric and Standards

Mental Health Literacy Components

Decreasing stigma

Understanding how to foster and maintain positive mental health

Understanding how to seek help effectively

Understanding mental health disorders and their treatments

High School Learning Standards

Advocate for reducing stigma associated with emotional and mental and behavioral health

Compare & contrast emotional, mental-behavioral illness, mental well-being and concurrent disorders

Describe how self-harm or suicide impacts other people

Describe laws related to minors accessing mental health care

Explain how to help someone who is thinking about attempting suicide

Identify school and community resources that can help a person with emotional, mental and behavioral health concerns


Program Material Cost

$35 per manual


Classroom Curriculum


Health, language arts, social studies, culture classes

Grade Level(s)




1 Peer-Reviewed Publication

Study Types


Study Samples

101 US freshman and 27 junior students (14-19 yrs old)

Major Findings

Students exposed to the curriculum scored better than the nointervention group at posttest on suicide probability and hopelessness. In addition, the intervention group showed greater ability to perform problem-solving and suicide intervention skills in a behavioral assessment.

Published Studies