Mental Health Matters

Keep the Fire Alive (KTFA) is a substance abuse and suicide prevention program designed for Native youth.

We are increasing education and awareness of mental health in the community. Some of our discussion topics and activities include: learning about depression, stress management, dealing with anger, bullying and suicide prevention. We work on improving self-confidence and self-esteem. Youth participate in cultural activities, teachings, and field trips.

Youth perspectives: using Traditional tobacco and other Sacred Medicines to deal with anxiety and mental health.

Click here to see four youth-created videos about our First Medicines and mental health on the Change to Chill website.

In My Shoes

There are silent struggles all around– will you listen?

In this original story written, directed & performed by Native artists and youth of color, we see an up close look at a group of teens on the rez. They are face to face with some big challenges: a missing family member, bullying & thoughts of suicide. This story of friendship and courage is part of the hope for the future.

Take a moment to Breathe

Find a comfortable position. Maybe sitting upright in a chair, back resting on the back of the chair, and feet resting flat on the ground. 

1. Take a deep breath in through your nose for 4 seconds.
2. Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
3. Slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.
4. Rest for 4 seconds, then Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you feel re-centered.

This exercise can help slow down your breathing and heart rate. This can lower blood pressure and decrease cortisol, which will help relieve stress and worries. 

Youth Council

Come check out the Keep The Fire Alive Youth Council and be involved in creating media, writing skits, and becoming peer leaders in the community. You will become a resource for your peers to seek out if they are curious to learn more or might be in a situation in which they are worried about a friend but do not know what to do.

If you are having trouble coping or thinking about suicide please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. Or text ‘MN’ to 741741 10 pieces of advice from elders Howard Kimewon and Alphonse Pitawanakwat on preventing suicide

How Can I Get Involved?

  • –  Sign up to join the youth council.
  • –  Attend a training on suicidal warning signs. Next training Feb 25, 2021.
  • –  Join the Community Advisory Council.
  • –  Host a performance by Native Youth Peer Educators on Mental Health and Wellness.

For more information please contact Brenna or Payton at IPTF.

Brenna Depies 612-722-5670

Native Youth Art Contest

Keep the Fire Alive has sponsored Native youth art contests to raise awareness about mental health. Be inspired by the power, creative entries from youth around the country.

Inspiring, Comforting, and Encouraging our Community Through Bus Shelter Designs.

Keep The Fire Alive will have 3 bus shelter designs throughout the city from June 29th to September 20th, 2020. The designs are inspired by youth poetry and trainings the staff have attended. We hope that these cultural messages inspire and provide comfort that they are not alone. We encourage the community to open up about thoughts of suicide they may have and talk with their family, or use the resources available in Hennepin County.  

Part of a National Conversation

Read about how the Keep the Fire Alive Program participated in the American Association of Suicidology conference in April 2020.

“If youth have access to even just one trusted adult, that significantly reduces their chances of attempting suicide. ”

Payton Counts in her report on the American Association of Suicidology Conference