May is Mental Health Awareness Month

The Suquamish Tribe’s Wellness Center has a slew of events planned for Mental Health Awareness Month through May. All activities are open to the Suquamish Community.

Here’s a round-up of what’s coming up:

Weekday Wellness Activities: Each weekday of the month of May join us in connecting with ourselves and culture to support our wellness. Monday Meditations, Tuesday Traditional Crafts, Wednesday Walk or Jog, and Thursday Canoe Journey Giveaway making.

Events/Presentations: Please join us in food, crafts, fun field day, storytelling, workshops, and training this month. Frybread Tacos, Happy box and aroma therapy making, Seven Grandfather Teaching for Youth, Nutrition and Wellness Talk, and Mental Health First Aid Training for Adults.

Personal Wellness Journey Booklet: Self-guided booklet utilizing evidence-based and cultural-based practices to support holistic wellness (available for pick up at Wellness Center or electronically at request via email to

31 Days of Mental Wellness for Youth: In partnership with the ELC and Family & Friends Center, Wellness will support both agencies in a 31 days of mental wellness activities that can be done both at the centers and at home.

Check out the May Wellness Calendar for more details.

Healing House Clinic set to open this winter

Tribal members invited to open house slated for Jan 5

The Primary Care team at the Suquamish Tribe’s Healing House health clinic is on track to begin seeing patients by the end of the winter, says Dr. Kristine Ewing, the clinic’s medical director.

In December, the clinic’s new staff began training on the new Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system that will be used by the entire Health Division (Healing House, Wellness Clinic, and Community Health), marking a major milestone towards fully opening the clinic. Having a single EMR across the Tribe’s health entities will help to coordinate and streamline care.

“We are busy orienting nursing and administrative staff, ordering supplies, and learning our new medical record system,” said Ewing. “We need everything to be ready in a good way, so that we can do what we are here to do, which is caring for people.”

Tribal Members and their families are invited to an open house at the clinic on Jan. 5. Tours will begin for Tribal Elders only at 1pm. Tours will continue for everyone else from 2pm to 4pm.

In the meantime, clinic staff are now assembling a list of Tribal Members and their families who are interested in making appointments to establish their medical care at the clinic.

“These first appointments are typically longer visits where your doctor will review your medical history, ask you a lot of detailed questions, and start to develop a plan that meets your medical needs,” said Ewing. “For now, we’re just trying to get a sense of who is interested. Once we’re ready to schedule appointments, we will contact you.”

This might beg the question – what will primary care look like at the Healing House?

“And it’s a good question,” says Ewing. “Primary care is a long-term relationship between a person and a primary care physician. In our Tribal community, this all about establishing a relationship built on trust and respect, the kind of care that comes with honoring culture and taking the time to understand each person’s unique needs.”

Dr. Alex Kraft, who is a Naturopathic Physician and acupuncturist who worked part-time at the Wellness Center over the past eight years, joins Ewing, a Family Physician, on the Healing House Primary Care team.

At the Healing House, these primary care doctors will see patients regularly for checkups, taking time to get to know a patient and their medical history, and provide knowledge and support regarding long-term and chronic health concerns, including nutrition, stress management and mental health.

“Ideally we would see people for all of their primary care and also acute, non-life-threatening needs, but as a primary care clinic we will often refer more urgent concerns to an urgent care clinic or emergency room,” says Ewing.

Getting the final pieces in place

Before visits can begin, however, several remaining big, background pieces are being put into place.
Tribal Council recently approved the eClinicalWorks EMR as the Tribe’s backbone for recordkeeping and secure client communication. Training to use that software, now underway, is about a two-month process.
Tribal Council also approved a contract with Native American-owned DT-Trak Consulting to provide coding, billing, auditing, and credentialing services for health clinic staff. Meanwhile, joining Ewing and Kraft, three new staff members have been hired into key positions at the clinic in recent weeks:

  • Receptionist – Elizabeth Napoleon
  • Medical Assistant – Michelle Hofmann
  • Office Manager – Kris Safford

Stephen Kutz serves as the Healing House Director, overseeing Primary Care, Community Health, and the Wellness Center.

As the Primary Care team continues their work to prepare to see patients, the Tribe’s Community Health nursing staff continue providing vaccinations and boosters, COVID-19 testing, medication and chronic disease management, tobacco cessation, and nutrition counseling, among other services.
WIC services are also now run out of Healing House.

By Jon Anderson



Online Forum: Covid Q&A

In this online townhall, Suquamish Tribe Treasurer Robin Little Wing Sigo hosts a special Q&A forum with the Tribe’s community health nurse Barbara Hoffman and Dr. Lisa Pratt, from the Wellness Center.



How to: Paper & Cedar Heart Project

Check out this awesome heart-making project developed by Suquamish Tribe Wellness Center’s art therapy expert and mental health counselor Tyler McLain.

Just follow the directions to weave a heart out of either paper or cedar strips.

Tio print the directions, download the project here. 


How-to: Reduce Anxiety with the Emotional Freedom Technique

In this how-to video, Tom Axtelle, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with the Suquamish Tribe Wellness Center, provides a practical method to help manage and reduce anxiety.

Called the Emotional Freedom Technique, this series of tapping motions may seem a little strange at first, but has been shown to help people suffering from post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression.

Give it a try!

Wellness offering weekly community support group

Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month?

Many people struggle with depression, anxiety, pain, addiction, grief and loss, and other challenges and disorders that significantly impact our lives. Especially during these times of unprecedented events and social distancing, it is important to know that you are not alone.

If you, or someone you know, are struggling, the Suquamish Wellness Center is here for support.

Currently, Wellness is hosting a weekly online community support group on Zoom for anyone who would like to participate. You do not need to be a client of the Wellness Center. This is a drop-in group; regular attendance is not required.

Community Support Group
Tuesdays 12:00 noon
Meeting ID: 290 555 845
Password: HELLO


The Wellness Center also offers many services, including:

Psychiatric services

Naturopathic services

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Substance Use Disorder (SUD)

Process addictions (such as gambling, sex, or internet addiction)

Mental Health (MH)

Domestic Violence (DV) Victim Advocacy


Please call the Wellness front desk with questions, or to request services: (360) 394-8558


Current clients can contact their treatment providers directly, using the staff directory posted here.


For emergencies, contact:

Emergency: 9-1-1
Crisis Hotline: 1-888-910-0416
Online chat:
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

8 Tips to Break Out of the COVID Funk

Boost your balance, amplify awareness, and increase well-being with these simple tricks you can try now

During all the changes, closures, and social isolation due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important to maintain balance and a healthy lifestyle. Stop a moment and take inventory of all the areas of your life. You may find a need to plan and act with increased intention and awareness during this time, to promote and maintain physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual health and well-being.


Here are 8 tips:

  1. Take one step at a time

It is easy to become overwhelmed, anxious, or scared when faced with extreme situations and obstacles. Focus on what you can control. Focus on what will produce feelings of joy, pride, and comfort. Stay informed, but limit your exposure to social media and the news. Focus on today, and find ways to feel productive.


  1. Be kind

Be supportive, forgiving, and kind to others, including when you are online. Offer thanks to important people in your life. Also – be gentle to yourself. Acknowledge your strengths. Smile.


  1. Be flexible

In the face of adversity and challenge, adapt. Change your plans and expectations. Look for and discover new ways of doing and being. Explore and be creative. Try something new. Start that project you’ve been thinking about for months.


  1. Plan ahead

If you are feeling overwhelmed because each day feels chaotic, develop a schedule. Budget your time. Set limits, expectations and boundaries for yourself and for your family. This could include things like reducing screen time, increasing sleep or exercise, or scheduling quality time to do an activity with your family or friends (in person… or online!)


  1. Stay positive

Don’t allow yourself to hyper-focus on the negative; think and speak in a positive way. Model this for others who are struggling. Don’t criticize others, and don’t criticize yourself.


  1. Take care of yourself

Don’t neglect the basics: Get plenty of sleep. Exercise regularly. Eat healthy. Drink water. Reduce or eliminate alcohol and drugs (now is a great time to quit smoking!). Pray, meditate, or journal daily. You will be better prepared and equipped to help others if you are taking care of yourself.


  1. Take care of others

Reach out to someone you haven’t heard from in a few days. Send an email, a text, or a Snap. Give a family member a call. Be aware of other people’s needs. Don’t hoard! – take what you need. Give.


  1. Relax and enjoy today

Look for the bright part of each day and give thanks. Don’t dwell on thoughts such as “I wish this was over!” Focus on what you have today, and what you can do with your time and energy. Find ways to calm down if you find your stress levels too high. Share these ideas with others. It may sound wild to say, but: enjoy this journey.


Jonathan Glover, LICSW, is the mental health supervisor at the Suquamish Wellness Center. If you have questions, or to request services, please call the main phone number: (360) 394-8601.

Wellness Support Groups Go Online

The staff at the Suquamish Wellness Center are now offering a variety of online support groups.

Here’s what’s available:

Community Support Group


Because of these unprecedented times, we recognize there are a number of additional stressors, changes, and hardships affecting our community. We will be offering a support group using Zoom, open to any community member who would like to attend. You do not need to be a client of Wellness to participate. Come stop in to share support and inspiration – or just to socialize! If you have questions about the group, or how to use Zoom, contact Brian Burwell. This group will be co-facilitated by Brian Burwell and Sara Olsen. Please feel free to drop in!

Time: Tuesdays, 12:00 – 1:00

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 290 555 845
Password: HELLO

Dial in: +1 253 215 8782 US


Parenting Class


Mary Russell, LMHC, will be offering a virtual parenting group based on the No Drama Discipline Work Book. The group will explore parenting through the lens of brain development with a specific focus on what it means to parent during the pandemic. Email Mary directly if you are interested in the group. Tell her a little about your child or children, and indicate if you would prefer a daytime or evening group. (11:00am Thursday or 6:00pm Thursday). Once you are signed up, Mary will coordinate with you to deliver a workbook to your home.


Healthy Relationships: Leading the Next Generations


Suquamish Wellness Center is offering this group using curriculum developed by the Native Wellness Institute to provide “culturally relevant resources to support tribes and tribal families in building healthier couple relationships.” The curriculum has been edited to allow its application in a telehealth format.  The group will be facilitated by Suquamish Wellness Center counselors, Tom Axtelle and Tyler McClain using Zoom (accessible by smart phone and computer). This group is open to Suquamish Tribal Members and other Native adults in the community.

When: Mondays 2:00 – 3:30

Email Tom to sign up!

Some Good News: Wellness Staffer Does Not Have Covid-19

From Suquamish Tribe Executive Director Shyla Spicer:

I wanted share an update on test results regarding our Wellness Center staff member. Testing confirms the staff member DOES NOT have COVID-19.

We continue to respond to the rapidly evolving events surrounding COVID-19. We remain committed to providing updated information as it becomes available.

We appreciate your understanding and patience as we continue to deal with this global health crisis and work to protect the health and safety of our staff and community.