Wellness and Support Services

-Wellness is an important part of NACA’s holistic and integrated curriculum.   It is implemented with meticulous attention to provide the balance necessary for a child to truly succeed as a student – and more importantly – as a human being.  In Native cultures children are honored, and each child is recognized for his or her special purpose.  Given the many barriers facing Native children today, NACA has put into place multiple collaborative programs that to help ensure that no child slips through the cracks and that all receive the physical, emotional, and nutritional support they need. Personal Wellness classes are also incorporated into the school day for each student.

Wellness Initiative and Programs include:

  • Student Support Services
  • First Nation’s Community Health Source-School Based Health Center
  • Prevention Programs
  • Personal Wellness Classes
  • NACA Food and Nutrition Policy
  • Wellness Wheel
  • Student Health Advisory Council (S.H.A.C.)


Student Support Services

In keeping with the NACA Holistic Wellness Philosophy, which honors the whole person in their environment, NACA offers each student, family and NACA faculty/staff a variety of services to support them in achieving their goals in school, developing socially and emotionally, strengthening peer and family relationships, and by helping students to realize their role in the community. All services are available on a drop-in basis during school hours (Main Campus 2nd Floor) and on an abbreviated schedule or by appointment at the UNM-Law School campus.

Student Support Services serves all NACA students, families, and staff FREE of charge.

Student Support Services offers the following:

Student Support Consultation-  provides an initial meeting with a Student Support Services staff member, for the student, parent(s)/guardian(s), student’s advisor, and other NACA staff or faculty when appropriate. This meeting offers participants a chance to identify strengths, express concerns, and develop an action plan to support the student’s success at NACA.

Education Groups– including student groups and in-classroom presentations focusing on health and wellness topics such as life skills and healthy relationships.

  • MVP Lunches: weekly catered lunches during B Lunch, for students who qualify for Title I services. Culturally based prevention education and Wise Mind groups provided during these lunches.
  • Wise Mind groups-mindfulness based skill groups provided during MVP Lunches and afterschool at UNM Campus for 11th and 12th graders
  • 8 week Friendship Skills groups for elementary classrooms

Community Outreach– participation in Parent Nights and other Wellness/Community events on and off campus.

Case Management/Referral– Staff provides referrals and assistance to obtain resources and/or services for students and their family. Additionally, NACA works closely with APS TITLE I program to provide further resources for students and their family experiencing a housing transition.

Crisis Intervention- provided by staff who have specialized training to help students during a stressful or emotional overwhelming incident. Peers, family members, administrators, faculty or staff may request such assistance on behalf of the student.

Eagle Room*– a peaceful, culturally-based meditation space provided for all NACA students, families and staff for self-reflection, meditation and prayer honoring our Native traditions. Students who are dealing with worry, stress, trauma, or any emotional hurt may utilize this peaceful room anytime during or after school. The Eagle Room is our most widely utilized program *Opening Fall 2018

Students may refer themselves** or be referred by a parent/guardian, administrator, faculty, or other staff for the above services. If you have any questions or would like to make a referral for these services, please contact the Student Support Services Office at 266-0992 x1100.

Parental consent is NOT required and shall not bar children regardless of age from receiving the following service.

  • In cases of emergency when a minor is in need of immediate hospitalization, medical attention, or surgery and the parents of the minor cannot be located for the purpose of consenting…after reasonable efforts have been made…consent can be given by any person standing in locus parentis to the minor. (NMSA 24-10-2)
  • A youth 14 years of age or older has the right to consent to individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, guidance, counseling or other forms of verbal therapy. This does not include psychotropic medication. A child under the age of 14 years may consent to initial assessment and early intervention services, limited to verbal therapy, not to exceed a two-week period. After the initial period, parental consent is required. (NM 32A-6-14)

**As per state law, children age 14 or older have the right to consent to their own mental health treatment without written parental consent.  NACA Student Support Services strongly encourage discussion between the student and parent/guardian regarding these services.

In order to better serve our students and their families NACA has developed partnerships with several key organizations and universities in the state:

  • First Nations Community Health Source
  • Circle of Life Counseling-Eight Northern Pueblos Council, Inc.
  • Circles of Care-Behavioral Health Department, Pueblo of San Felipe
  • New Mexico Highlands University, School of Social Work Field Placement Site
  • New Mexico State University, School of Social Work Field Placement Site
  • Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board, Health Equity Initiative
  • University of New Mexico, Psychology Department-Wise Mind Program

Please visit SHARE New Mexico for additional resources.



First Nation’s Community Healthsource-School Based Health Center

The First Nations School-Based Health Center (SBHC) provides physical health, behavioral health, dental, and health education services to NACA.  Their office is located on NACA Main and UNM Law School campuses.


Service hours are:

Main Campus: Primary care Mondays 9am-1pm and Fridays 9am-1pm, Behavioral Health M-F 9am-4pm, Dental by appointment only

UNM Campus: Primary care Wednesdays 9am-1pm; Behavioral Health Tuesdays and Fridays 9am-4pm

The SBHC dental application will need to be completed and returned before students can receive services.

All services performed at the SBHC are free of charge and require no co-payment.

All NACA students and their siblings (of any age) and NACA employees are eligible for these services:

Physical Health

  • Well Child Exams
  • Vision/hearing screens
  • Sports Physicals
  • Immunizations
  • Acute Illness/Injury Care
  • Chronic Illness Care
  • Confidential services


  • Dental screenings
  • Dental exams and x-rays
  • Cleanings
  • Restorative (fillings)
  • Preventative (fluoride and dental hygiene class presentations)
  • Referrals (more extensive dental needs may be referred to the First Nations Dental Program or another community provider)

Behavioral Health

  • Assessment
  • Short-term (up to 12 sessions) individual and family counseling
  • Group Counseling
  • Referral to School and Community Resources
  • Psychiatric Services

Health Education

  • Chronic Illness Education
  • Classroom Presentations on Healthy Lifestyle choices, substance abuse prevention and suicide prevention
  • Information for Staff and Teachers

To access the SBHC services a parent/guardian must complete a First Nations SBHC registration and consent form for their student during registration (forms are also available at the front office and on the website).  For urgent matters, students may ask their teacher to excuse them to go to the SBHC.  Students must advise the front office if they are being sent home due to illness/injury. Download FNCH SBHC Consent form here

Student Base Health Center serves all NACA students, families, and staff FREE of charge.

Student Base Health Center Staff

Nasheen Sleuth,  Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor;  Chad Pfeiffer, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Marsha Souers, Nurse Practitioner; Julissa Astorga,Medical Assistant


Prevention Programs

NACA H.O.P.E. (Honoring our Peoples Emergence) Alcohol Related Suicide Prevention

HOPE works with the NACA community regarding suicide and substance abuse prevention by providing programs to serve our youth and families. The goals of this program are to integrate cultural wisdom and healthy life ways with evidenced based prevention education to reduce alcohol use and hopelessness of high school students in the school community. This 5 year initiative, which began in 2015, is funded by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-DHHS).

NACA S.A.P.O. (Substance Abuse Prevention Office)

Our aim is to reduce underage drinking and prescription painkiller misuse through education, Strengthening Families parent education groups, building capacity for restorative justice, and a strength based media campaign called Positive NACA Norms. Follow us on Instagram @naca_sapo. This initiative is funded by the State of NM Department of Health, Office of Substance Abuse Prevention and is renewed annually.

Hiyupo Alliance

Hiyupo Alliance is an alliance of programs that support boys and young men at NACA to Heal, Grow, and Thrive so they can become community leaders. Our programs are based on the philosophy of self-care through holistic wellness. Students are provided opportunities to serve the community through hands on projects. Students are also ‘saved a seat’ at the table and learn to organize events and advocate for change.

Natural Helpers

Natural Helpers are a group of students who are selected by their peers and staff who have shown a natural skill for helping others. The goals of this project are to prevent suicide and increase empathy and healthy conflict resolution skills in our school community. This initiative is funded by the State of NM, Department of Health, Office and School and Adolescent Health and is renewed annually.

Health Equity Initiative

The Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board (AAIHB) American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Health Equity Project Initiative will bring together a multidisciplinary partnership network to support the development, implementation and evaluation of culturally appropriate, evidence-based practices to address trauma, reduce health risk behaviors and strengthen resiliency among AI/AN adolescents. This 5 year project, beginning in 2018, will work with 20-30 NACA middle school students and provide them with tutoring, social work supports, extracurricular activities and a 6 week summer program to focus on optimum healthy development.

R.L.A.S. Project

Beginning in 2017, the Reducing LGBTQ Adolescent Suicide (RLAS) project is a 5 year project in partnership with the Behavioral Health Research Center of the Southwest and University of New Mexico, Health Sciences Center to support the implementation of simple but important practices into the school. These evidence-based strategies have been endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of School Nurses.

The strategies include:

  • Creating “safe spaces”
  • Adoption of harassment and bullying prohibitions
  • Improving access to community health and mental health providers experienced in working with youth and LGBTQ people
  • School staff development
  • Incorporating LGBTQ-specific information into health education curriculam

NACA Food and Nutrition Policy

To enhance the learning performance of our students, NACA has adopted a Food and Nutrition Policy. Through the policy, NACA students and staff have agreed to accept the responsibility to increase awareness and knowledge of nutrition and health issues; maintain physical health and proper nutrition as a way of honoring self, family, and community; and promote personal wellness. This nutrition policy is in effect while on NACA campus or an association with an event and celebration with NACA. We understand there may be special circumstances in which the policy may not be followed strictly but our goals and responsibility as a community should be to empower healthy mind, body and spirit as the foundational building blocks of healthy living. Download NACA’s Food and Nutrition Policy


Wellness Wheel

NACA uses a Wellness Wheel as a tool for students, staff and community to articulate their perceptions, goals and assessments of surrounding their health.  A person is able to use the Wellness Wheel to visually record their Intellectual, Physical, Community and Social/Emotional health.   This is a holistic approach and is centered in a respect for indigenous knowledge.  

Student Health Advisory Council (S.H.A.C.)

NACA prioritizes the voices, opinions and needs of our students and parents when developing our Wellness programs. The SHAC meets bi-monthly to provide a forum for students, parents, faculty, staff, administration and community partners to discuss, plan and implement wellness initiatives for the school that embody our Wellness Philosophy. Please join us for these meetings for meaningful participation in “Growing Together”. We honor the time and effort families make to participate so we provide a family dinner, free childcare and incentives for attending.