Cherokee Nation HERO Project Receives Honors

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker signs a pledge banner to raise awareness about children’s mental health.

Published September 18, 2018

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation’s Behavioral Health HERO Project was recently recognized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for their work in suicide prevention and children’s mental health awareness.

The department received three awards, including one gold, one silver and one shining star award, as part of the 2018 Excellence in Community Communications and Outreach program that recognized SAMHSA grantees.

“Our work in behavioral health is some of the most important work that we do as a tribe,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said “ The dedication that we continue to see from this team is making the difference in the lives of so many Cherokee children and families, and we are very proud of that.”

Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health was recognized for their work in suicide prevention and Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day through the SAMHSA Systems of Care Grant.

To raise awareness about suicide prevention, the team used social media, a pledge walk, t-shirt giveaways and cultural stories, all themed around the traditional Cherokee story of grandmother spider, to generate conversation and encourage youth to speak out about suicide. Their work on the topic earned them both a gold award for overall communications campaign and a shining star honor.

“At the HERO Project, HERO stands for Helping Everyone Reach Out, whether it is finding help or a resource for our children, grandchildren, niece, nephew, cousin or friend it is our mission to empower our community,” Associate Director of Children’s Behavioral Health Juli Skinner said.

The group was also recognized for their work on Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, including outreach, activities and a public service announcement that aired on tribal closed-circuit television. The campaign reached more than 100,000 people, which earned a silver award.

“No one talks about children’s mental health. One of our main goals has been to bring the importance of children’s mental health to the forefront of our tribe and community as a whole,” Behavioral Health Case Manger Ashley Lincoln said. “Through these activities and work with the Cherokee Cabinet for Children and Families we are able to engage families and share information about resources available to them.”

Cherokee Nation’s HERO Project is the children and youth division of Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health and focuses on group, family and individual therapy for families with children ages newborn to 21 years old.

For more information about the awards, click here

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