IN THIS GUIDE
- We’ve assembled a list of 5 crisis hotlines for Native Peoples along with 11 non-crisis general mental health resources.
- Find 8 Indigenous LGBTQ resources that can help address the distress caused by some of the issues that LGBTQ+ Native People are facing today, as well as some solution-oriented action items.
- We’ve also found 5 substance abuse resources that are specific to Native and Indigenous Peoples that further support positive and healthy mental health practices.
Positive mental health is a key part of every person’s well-being. But, it is a known fact that the mental health of ethnic minority groups is often disproportionate to that of their white counterparts. Over 24% of the Native American population suffered from some type of mental illness in the past year. Studies show that Indigenous people experience serious psychological distress 2.5 times more often than the general population. Additionally, the rate of suicide among Native youth between the ages of 15-19 is more than double that of non-Hispanic whites. Native youth also start to use and abuse alcohol and other drugs at younger ages, and at higher rates, than all other ethnic groups. These numbers suggest that youth is the most at-risk group within the Native American and Indigenous communities.
Barriers to treatment are large factors when discussing mental illness among Native peoples. Cultural beliefs surrounding mental illness have many different interpretations among Indigenous people. Native people who are struggling with mental illness or substance abuse are more likely to seek help from spiritual healers. This creates a barrier between Indigenous people and professional treatment. Additionally, 78% of Native Americans live outside of tribal areas and 21% of them lack health insurance coverage. Mental health services exist primarily on reservations, creating another barrier.
The following is a list of organizations that are making Indigenous mental health a priority:
Crisis Phone Numbers/Chat Lines
- Crisis Line for Racial Equity Support: Call 503-575-3764 Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm PST – For POC by POC, this crisis line is answered by people with real-life experience with racism.
- Strong Hearts Native Helpline: Chat online daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT with this domestic violence organization that works to provide support for American Indians who have experienced domestic or sexual violence. They also provide a 24/7 helpline at 1-844-762-8483.
- SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline: 1-877-726-4727 Call this hotline to receive general information on mental health, find local treatment services, and speak to a live person Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 Call this hotline during a crisis anytime, 24/7 to speak with a trained crisis counselor.
- Indian Country Child Trauma Center: 405-271-8858 A SAMHSA-funded program that develops training, technical assistance, program development, and resources on trauma-informed care to tribal communities.
General Mental Health
- Well for Culture: A movement that aims to recover Indigenous health and wellness practices.
- Just Healing: A resource site centered around aiding BIPOC communities who are fighting for justice against oppression.
- To Live to See the Great Day that Dawns: A guide from SAMHSA on preventing suicide among American Indian and Alaska Native youth and adults.
- Transforming Tribal Communities: Indigenous Perspectives on Suicide Prevention: A series of videos from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center that approach suicide prevention from the point of view of Indigenous people.
- You Feel Like Sh*t: An interactive guide to check in on your mental health and self-care.
- CMS American Indian/Alaska Native Division of Tribal Affairs: An organization that works to coordinate between Indian Health Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services so that Indigenous People can receive the help they need.
- Voices of Indian Country: A blog run by Native Hope, this site provides true life experiences of Native People overcoming challenges of all kinds.
- Nalgona Positivity Pride: An eating disorder awareness and body positivity organization, they provide videos, interviews, and stories of recovery.
- Arctic Winds Healing Winds- Leadership for Results: A video that focuses on change through strong, concise leadership within Indigenous communities.
- Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health: This organization works with Indigenous Tribal organizations all throughout the Southwest to improve mental healthcare and improve suicide prevention.
- The Support Group for PoC with Eating Problems: A soon-to-be online support group focused on fostering body positivity.
- You Are Not Alone Network: An online platform that acts as a community hub for people struggling with and recovering from mental health issues.
- Lazarus Nance Letcher: Lazarus Letcher’s website is a hub for his music, writing, and different forms of activism to share the stories of his experiences as a QTBIPOC.
- YMSM + LGBT Center of Excellence: This organization aims to improve the sensitivity of mental healthcare and substance abuse treatment providers to LGBTQ and QTBIPOC health issues.
- Two Spirit and LGBTQ Health: An online forum that works to improve awareness for LGBTQ issues among Indigenous communities.
- Rest for Resistance: A community hub for all things LGBTQ, this site posts a wide range of articles written by LGBTQ people for LGBTQ people.
- National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network: A mental health hub that provides connections to QTPOC therapists all over the country.
- LGBTQ Psychotherapists of Color: A directory of QTPOC therapists with a search tool that can help you find a therapist near you.
- The Lesbians of Color Symposium (LOCS) Collective: An organization that works to promote equality and equal access to healthcare services and community resources for QTWOC.
Youth & College Students
- Circles of Care: A government-funded program that works to support American Indian and Alaska Native children who suffer from mental illnesses and their families.
- Indigenous Story Studios: A non-profit that publishes comics and graphic novels dedicated to telling the stories of Indigenous peoples.
- Center for Native American Youth: A national education and advocacy organization, CNAY works to improve support and equality for Native American youth so that they may have the best possible chance for achieving a bright and happy future for themselves and their families.
- WeRNative: A comprehensive health resource for Native youth by Native youth, promoting holistic health and positive growth through the teachings of Native culture, history, and current events.
- Indian Country Child Trauma Center: A group that works to improve children’s healthcare among Native American communities.
- Native Youth Perspectives on Mental Health and Healing: A discussion panel organized by the Natural Resources Committee.
- One Sky Center: An advocacy group that is working to improve access to substance abuse treatment and resources for Indigenous peoples.
- IHS Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention: The Indian Health Service is a government institution that works to improve access to healthcare for Indigenous peoples all across America.
- Tribal Affairs: Tribal Affairs is a government organization that works to support tribal governance, particularly in the realm of mental and physical healthcare.
- White Bison: A nonprofit group that works to promote sobriety, wellbriety, and overall recovery to American Indians and Alaska Natives.
- BIPOC Only – Recovery Dharma: A Buddhist-inspired recovery fellowship that hosts meetings specifically for BIPOC.
- The Network/La Red: An advocacy, prevention, and recovery organization, The Network works to end domestic abuse among LGBTQ couples. They also provide a 24-hour crisis line at 617-742-4911.
- Women of Color Network Inc: This group aims to end violence against women of color in all settings.
- No More: This foundation is working towards ending domestic violence, and they have a global directory of domestic abuse support and recovery services.
- The National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault (SCESA): This is a Women of Color-led non-profit committed to ending domestic and sexual violence against women.
- National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center: A Native-led non-profit that aims to end domestic violence again American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian women.