Native and Indigenous Peoples Addiction & Mental Health Support

Studies show that Native and Indigenous people experience psychological distress more often than the general population. There are often barriers to treatment that can save lives, especially in Native youth. This guide provides several resources to help support their mental health needs and improve access to care.

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.

Native and Indigenous Peoples Addiction & Mental Health SupportThe 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

LGBTQ+

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.

Substance Abuse

  • 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.

Domestic Violence

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