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Suicide Prevention for At-risk Youth via a Horse Culture Program

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Do troubled kids want to go see a white coat? If you send a troubled youth to a Psychologist or Psychiatrist will they actually go? What is the cost of this referral? What is the outcome? If you …

Do troubled kids want to go see a white coat? If you send a troubled youth to a Psychologist or Psychiatrist will they actually go? What is the cost of this referral? What is the outcome? If you ask a troubled kid if he/she wants to learn to ride a horse, the conversation is different.

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  • Animals are tools for therapy because they can make people feel safe and loved when they have been deprived of social interaction or hurt by other people. They do not communicate with words, and so patients afraid of approaching people can comfortably approach an animal.
  • Additionally, a therapist who brings along a pet is viewed as being less dangerous by the patient, and so the previously uncommunicative patient is willing to share more with the professional  [2] . Animals commonly used for therapy include dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits, and other small animals.
  • A list of possible areas in which a Tribal Practice might have outcomes is listed in the Form. Information in these categories is very powerful evidence for the effectiveness of a Tribal Practice.   For any applicable outcome category, describe what changes the Tribal Practice will achieve, e.g., Social/Community/Cultural Connectedness might include specifically, increased knowledge of cultural songs and prayers; identification of participants with their culture; involvement in cultural events (e.g., Powwows).   Some of these outcome categories are recognized in the National Outcome Measures System (NOMS) in which AMD is required to participate in order to receive federal funding National Outcome Measures (NOMs). http://www.nationaloutcomemeasures.samhsa.gov/PDF/NOMS/revised_grid_4_1_08.pdf (Source: Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D., Ph.D . Traditional (Native American) Indian Medicine Treatment of Chronic Illness: Development of an Integrated Program with Conventional American Medicine and Evaluation of Effectiveness. http://www.healing-arts.org/mehl-madrona/mmtraditionalpaper.htm )
  • Transcript

    • 1. Suicide Prevention:1 Horse Culture Program Presented to the Piikani First Nation Youth Education Committee May 28, 2012 Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary 427 - 51 St SE, Calgary (403) 270-7379
    • 2. Who are we Chris Hylton, AFCC Volunteer and Director2
    • 3. Unless a child learns about the forces which shaped him; the history of his people, their values and customs, their language, he will never really know himself or his potential as a human being. The Indian child who learns about his heritage will be proud of it. George Manuel - 19723
    • 4. Why are we doing this? •What is the Elephant in the room? •Anyone have any ideas please?4
    • 5. Canada Suicide Rates Youth suicide is an urgent issue for First Nations and Inuit youth in Canada. While there is much variation among communities, overall rates are high. Suicide rates are five to seven times higher for First Nations youth than for non-Aboriginal youth. Suicide rates among Inuit youth are among the highest in the world, at 11 times the national average. Government of Canada - http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fniah-spnia/promotion/suicide/index-5 eng.php
    • 6. AFCC Youth Program6 “Traditional Horse Culture Program” engages Aboriginal youth of both genders between the ages of 10 to 18, as a means of helping them develop positive communication skills, appreciation of self and life, build self-esteem and empower them to stay in or return to school. The youth are engaged with the Horse, Equine Therapists, Horse Trainers and Elders who guide them through the traditional teachings, stories, medicines and other traditional ways so that they may develop positive life skills.
    • 7. What is Horse Therapy?  The goal is directed at intervention in which7 the horse is an integral part of self-fulfillment.  Animal Therapy is a therapy that uses animals to help heal children and adults. Animal therapy is not bias, a wide range of animals are used in animal therapy dogs, cats, birds, elephants, dolphins, rabbits  Animal therapy or pet therapy as it is sometimes called is most commonly used to help people heal emotionally, physically and mentally. Source: http://www.worldwidehealth.com/
    • 8. What is Animal Therapy?8
    • 9. General Objectives  The exercise is to promote the improvement in9 human physical, social, emotional, psychological and/or cognitive behaviour.  To gain a healthier understanding, increase in self- understanding through emotional growth and self discipline.  To develop skills in self-awareness, self- responsibility, non-verbal communication, self- control, self respect and most importantly self- confidence.  “SUICIDE PREVENTION” is the Main Objective. (This however, is not readily conveyed to the students)  The Traditional Games is an exercise of fun and games, to stimulate active play. But most importantly to maintain Native American Traditions.
    • 10. Specific Objectives of AFCC Aboriginal/European Historical Perspectives10  Toexplore and understand the traditional heritage of the Aboriginal peoples. To provide Cultural Reconnection programs in: tradition, language, spirituality, and family values. Residential School Syndrome Primary focus is placed on the impact of residential schools to all Aboriginal People. Address the history of residential school (boarding school) trauma, the generational affects within Aboriginal communities. Dynamics of Grief and Loss Explore the loss and consequential grief. To gain knowledge of these issues in the Family Reconstruction settings; to establish continuation of healing and recovery from the trauma of residential school survivors; and the healing of generations yet to come. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder  To identify and develop programs and tools to help participants recognize and assess post traumatic stress disorder; and to understand its relationship to residential school survivors. Cultural Systems – Values & Beliefs To provide participants with knowledge and skills in the identification and exploration of cultural ramifications; to provide an opportunity for participants to enhance their effectiveness by addressing systemic and personal issues of living in a culturally diverse atmosphere. “It’s time to open the doors to healing”
    • 11. Why Healing Occurs As scientists have11  discovered, animals have healing powers. “When you stroke a cat or pet a dog, you experience a surge of healing hormones and chemicals that produce feelings of peace and AFCC HCP Photos serenity.” Edward T. Creagan, M.D. - Mayo Clinic oncologist
    • 12. Why do animals heal?12  Because they can make people feel safe and loved when they have been deprived of social interaction or hurt by other people. “ANIMALS DO NOT LIE OR JUDGE” (Jim Mason)  They do not communicate with words, and so patients afraid of approaching people can comfortably approach an animal.  When animals are given respect and trust by their student/companion, animals will give back respect and trust.  The simple physical actions of stroking/petting, and talking to the animals is calming in a “non threatening/non pressure” environment. Trainer Jim Mason, Horse Culture
    • 13. Why do animals heal?13  A therapist who brings along a pet is viewed as being less dangerous by the patient.  The previously uncommunicative patient is willing to share more with the professional.  Animals commonly used for therapy include dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits, and other small animals. Kari Fulmek, Equine Assisted Learning Trainer AFCC HCP Photos
    • 14. Traditional Horse Culture Class of 201214
    • 15. Sample Program Cost BUDGET $63,00015 Time frame 6 months - I day a week - 6 hours per day 6 month program $10,500 per month 40 Students divide into $10,500 $262.50 per child per month 4 classes per month divide into $65.63 per hr – 40 $262.50 students 5 hr classes divide into $65.63 $13.12 per hr Man and Horse Power 2 Coordinators, 4 Instructors, 2 ranch hands 60 horses – tack, saddles, saddle blankets 1 indoor horse facility A lot of will power
    • 16. TESTIMONIALS "I had fun and I havent had fun in a while, cant wait to come back." "This equine program was so much fun! Ive never had this experience before and I feel Im so confident. I loved being here so much. Hope you guys keep this going so everyone can have an awesome experience like this!" "Today Ive been stressed out and upset. But when I came here everything changed about how I felt, because I was building a relationship with Tanya Tucker." "Today Pepper could tell I was sad, and he was also unhappy. I feel he wouldnt move until I smartened up and started being happy."16
    • 17. Outcomes • Youth learn to care and communicate with the horses;17 through this learning and teachings, • Learn to care for themselves and build healthy communication patterns and relationships with others • Enhance their cultural connection and sense of belonging that will in turn develop leadership skills, self respect, and a positive outlook towards the future with the help of peers, horses and nature. • Develop a strong sense of identity and self-worth; they strengthen their sense of belonging and are supported by the Elders; they begin to develop life skills • To experience nature and the healing power of horses, engage in activities and experiences designed
    • 18. •Guide and inspire the youths to learn personal integrity and make positive changes to take with them for the rest18 of their lives. •Return as mentors and begin to develop leadership skills. •Discover and chart a path for themselves. •Become positive role models for other youth and advocate for themselves and other at-risk youth. •Become aware of suicide prevention and the cycle of life. •Develop a strong awareness for the value of life, recognize the signs and symptoms of suicide, and learn ways to prevent it through various techniques.
    • 19. CONCLUSION Participating youth will sustain overtime the cultural attachments that they gained in this program, through continuous and ongoing practices of traditional ways and ceremonies, attachment to the Elders and mutual support. Our children need help and only we can find the solution to our success.19
    • 20. Thank you!20  http://www.equineconnection.ca Kari Fulmek 403-519- 6765  chris@hylton.ca Chris Hylton 1 800 449 5866
    • 21. References  Animal-Assisted Therapy and Activities: A Study and Research21 Resource Guide for the Use of Companion Animals in Animal- Assisted Interventions , by Phil Arkow , (2011: 189 pp.),  Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, Inc. (2009). http://www.eagala.org/  Dolphin Therapy. http://www.dolphintherapy.eu  Animal-Assisted Therapy. (2010). http://www.mahalo.com/animal-assisted-therapy  Miscellaneous Therapies: Pet-facilitated Therapy. In The Complete Guide to Autism Treatments, Freeman, S. K., Ph.D (pp. 327-333). Lynden, WA: SKF Books USA, Inc.  Dolphin Therapy and Autism. http://www.researchautism.net/autism_treatments_therapies_inter
    • 22. References22  Life Changing Stories: The American Hippotherapy Association. http://www.americanhippotherapyassociation.org/storie  Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) http://www.deltasociety.org/Document.Doc?id=10  Animal Therapies and Autism, Dr. Matt Coldwell, http://www.slidefinder.net/2/20553_20Animal_20T herapies/23601139
    • 23. References23 www.medicinewheelmodel.com/cms/index.php? page=Medicine-Wheel-Model Traditional Horse Culture – International Traditional Games – www.traditionalnativegames.org Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary – www.afccalgary.org Special thanks to Carol and Jim Mason, and AFCC and other staff for their efforts in developing this program! Finally, special thanks to Alberta Health Services for their support and funding.
    • 24. FOR MORE INFORMATION OR IF YOU WISH TO MAKE A DONATION Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary #101, 427-51st Avenue Calgary, AB, Canada T2H 0M8 403.270.7379 www.afccalgary.org Email: info@afccalgary.org24