A Healthier Wisconsin

Lac du Flambeau Healthier Community Action Team (Phase II)

Advancing Behavioral Health Initiative Phase II: Decreasing excessive drinking in Lac du Flambeau

Full Project Name:Healthier Community Action Team Behavioral Health Project (Phase II)Primary Community Organization:Lac du Flambeau Public SchoolPrimary Academic Partner:Michelle Broaddus, PhD, Psychiatry and Behavioral MedicineAward Amount:$1,000,000.00
Award Date
Project Duration:60 months

Project Description Narrative:

Advancing Behavioral Health Initiative Phase II

A history of systematic policies and subsequent actions aimed at Native Americans has resulted in persistent effects of historical/generational trauma in American Indian/Alaska Native communities today. It is now widely known that unhealed historical or multigenerational trauma results in identity loss and confusion, profound grief, poor health and social wellbeing, and vulnerability to substance abuse, especially alcohol abuse. In Lac de Flambeau, community members, elders, Tribal government and coalition members have long recognized the impact of substance use on health, family stability, employability and economy. Locally, the excessive drinking rate is roughly 1.5 to two times higher than that of the state of Wisconsin and the county were Lac de Flambeau resides. Deaths from overdose (co-occurring alcohol ingestion may contribute to overdose deaths) were so alarming that the Tribal Council declared a state of emergency in 2013. To promote healing, the project partners aim to strengthen and restore protective factors and decrease excessive drinking among adults ages 18-44 by 10% through the following strategies:

  • Changing and sustaining an alcohol use/abuse community "norm" by engaging 10 families in a pilot cohort to provide comprehensive training and support of Ojibwe cultural teachings, traditions, and practices to promoting healing and strengthen protective factors (e.g. respect, cultural identity, social connectiveness, family ties) against alcohol abuse. Grow to two cohorts annually with six family members engaged per family
  • Sustaining inter-agency communication, resource sharing, collaboration and service monitoring through organized workgroups to enhance a systems approach to the early identification, management, treatment and support of families under the influence of excessive drinking
  • Implementing a substance use community awareness campaign/initiative to increase tribal government and community member knowledge and awareness about substance use, prevention, risks and protective factors, treatment and recovery

This project is part of AHW's Advancing Behavioral Health Initiative, an eight-year, $20 million initiative bringing together 10 community coalitions from across Wisconsin to address pressing mental health needs within their communities. The initiative is designed in three phases, providing a funded planning year, a five-year implementation period, and a two-year sustainable transformation phase.

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:

  • Conducted nine cohorts of Family Circles, a program supported by Native American belief that culture is prevention and teaches traditional Ojibwe cultural practices, language, and history
  • Engaged participants in evaluation efforts through which families reported reduced alcohol and drug consumption, better family communication, and usage of more cultural traditions and demonstrated how the re-acquisition of traditions, history, cultural lifeways and language arestrong factors in addressing AODA issues that impact families and children in tribal communities
  • Trained 23 Family Circles facilitators to support sustainability and consistency across cohorts
  • Fostered strong community connections through a 90-day community engagement framework to maintain connections between and engagement in the program with the school, Tribal Council, GLITC, health clinics, law enforcement, family resource center, and the five area coalitions

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