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California’s 988 Tribal Summit Convenes Northern California Native American Communities, Legislators And Mental Health Providers For Suicide Prevention



SACRAMENTO, Calif. – March 22, 2023 – Today Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-San Bernardino) and Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, the leader of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in California and home of the nation’s first Suicide Prevention Center, hosted the 988 Tribal Summit Northern California Convening bringing tribes, legislators and mental health service providers together for suicide prevention.

The 988 Tribal Summit Northern California Convening builds on the conversations Assemblymember Ramos previously hosted with Didi Hirsch and other partners at the 988 Tribal Summit Southern California convening on the Morongo Indian Reservation in February 2023, ensuring a statewide approach to strengthening suicide prevention resources for American Indian communities.

According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, the suicide death rate for American Indian and Alaska Native populations is higher than that of the overall U.S. population for males and females. The national 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline was introduced in July 2022 and serves as a confidential 24/7 resource to individuals in crisis or people calling on behalf of someone they know. The Summit highlighted 988 as a resource available to tribal communities for individuals in crisis.

“To this day, the effects of centuries of genocide, displacement and trauma impact the mental health of our American Indian and Alaska Native communities,” shared Assemblymember Ramos. “This Summit is serving a critical need by helping the agencies that serve tribal communities better understand the unique needs of these populations and how suicide prevention work must be grounded in cultural understanding.”

“Suicide prevention works best when it is done through the lens of our cultural beliefs and practices, which is why the conversations at today’s Summit are so critical,” said Shari Sinwelski, vice president of crisis care at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services. “As the lead agency in California for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, Didi Hirsch wants the 988 resource to be trusted and accessible to all including Native American and Alaska Native tribal communities in our state. Today our goal is for the 988 Northern California crisis call centers to listen with humility and better understand what Native American communities need to make this crisis line a trusted resource that supports suicide prevention grounded in cultural understanding.”

Additional partners for the 988 Tribal Summit Northern California Convening included the California Legislative Native American Caucus, Wilton Rancheria, Sacramento Native American Health Center, California Department of Health Care Services, California Consortium for Urban Indian Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The 988 Tribal Summit Northern California Convening created a space for deep listening among tribal communities and the agencies that offer services to them. Engaging panels, speaker presentations and thought-provoking small group listening sessions centered community and trust-building to help increase awareness and understanding of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and address barriers to care.

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline offers 24/7, multilingual call, text and chat access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use and/or mental health crises, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also contact 988 if they are worried about someone in their life who may need crisis support. 988 is a lifesaving resource; recent data from Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services shows more than 93 percent of crises are successfully resolved by the organization’s compassionate counselors without the need for further intervention.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call, text or chat 988 for free and confidential support. Visit www.crisiscare.org for more information on Didi Hirsch crisis counseling services.


Assemblymember James C. Ramos proudly represents the 45th Assembly district which includes Fontana, Highland, Mentone, Redlands, Rialto and San Bernardino. He is the first and only California Native American serving in the state’s legislature. Ramos chairs the Assembly Committees on Rules.

About Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services has been a national leader in whole-person mental health, crisis care and substance use services for more than 80 years and is home to the nation’s first Suicide Prevention Center. With deep roots in community-based mental health, Didi Hirsch is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing health equity, including where discrimination and injustice limit access. More than 1,000 staff and volunteers compassionately serve more than 180,000 children, adults and families annually in crisis, telehealth, outpatient, residential, community and school-based settings. Learn more at www.didihirsch.org.

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