Native American Behavioral Health
In honor of National Native American Heritage Month, we would like to acknowledge the behavioral health impact within Native American communities and provide resources and organizations to encourage learning and support of indigenous health.
Many Native American tribes embrace a worldview that encompasses the notions of connectedness, strong family bonds, adaptability, oneness with nature, wisdom of elders, meaningful traditions and strong spirit that may serve as protective factors when it comes to mental health (American Psychiatric Association, 2017).
At the same time, suicide is the second leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native youth ages 8 to 24. Alcohol and drug use are also experienced at higher rates than others. It is important to understand the systemic factors underlying these health outcomes, including historical trauma, poverty, underemployment, lack of access to health care, and lower educational attainment, among other factors.
We’d like to share the following resources to promote learning about and support of indigenous communities and the ways in which they’re addressing behavioral health challenges, encouraging healing through cultural knowledge, preservation, and spirituality. Please watch the following videos and support the local organizations below:
- Breaking the silence: Native Americans overcome taboos in battle against suicide
- Culture Matters: Indigenous Perspectives on Behavioral Healthcare
- All my relations: a traditional Lakota approach to health equity
- Indian Health Center of Santa Clara County
- Cultural Communities Wellness Program – Native Family Community