The White House announced on Thursday First Lady Jill Biden and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy will visit the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe’s Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. on Sunday, October 24, 2021.

During their visit, Dr. Biden and Dr. Murthy will hold a listening session focused on youth mental health with citizens of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.

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A panel will discuss the success of a $9 million five-year grant project, entitled Project AWARE, from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe received the grant in April 2019 and is now in the third year of Project AWARE.

First Lady Jill Biden will visit the Ziibiwing Center on Sunday. (Photo/Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Indians)

The Tribe partners with the Saginaw Chippewa Academy (SCA), Mt. Pleasant Public Schools and Shepherd Public Schools to administer services provided by the grant. 

Participants learn how to deal with intergenerational trauma. Other components of Project AWARE are mental health first aid and crisis intervention skills taught to school staff and community members to increase mental health awareness and care for Native American students.

“This project has been transformative because it addresses the needs of students, families and employees at a number of levels. It is also a unique opportunity for all of the organizations involved to work together to support our youth, and create a shared plan for the future,” Project AWARE Coordinator Kehli Henry said.

Sunday’s event is private for invited guests only.

Sunday's visit is the second trip to a tribal nation for Dr. Biden since she became first lady in January. She  visited the Navajo Nation earlier in April to review Covid-19 vaccine facilities, went to a school and met with Navajo leaders who are involved with the missing and murdered Indigenous people crisis.

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