Native and Indigenous Peoples Addiction & Mental Health Support

Studies show that Native and Indigenous people in the U.S. experience serious psychological distress over 2x 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. Below are several dozen resources to help support and improve mental health among Indigenous and Native peoples.

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.

While mental health is a key part of every person’s well-being, 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 Native and Indigenous people in the U.S. experience serious psychological distress 2.5 times more frequently 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 community.

Barriers to treatment are large factors when discussing mental illness among Native peoples. Cultural beliefs surrounding the concept of mental illness have many different interpretations among Indigenous people. People in these communities who are battling depression, anxiety, or substance abuse disorders are more likely to seek help from a spiritual or traditional healer than from outside medical sources. Currently, 78% of American Natives live outside of tribal areas and 21% of them lack health insurance coverage. Mental health treatment services exist primarily on reservations– creating barriers to access to treatment.

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 – This service line is dedicated to and staffed by BIPOC, who all possess lived experience of racism that enables them to effectively provide support.
  • Strong Hearts Native Helpline: Chat online daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT with this safe, anonymous and confidential domestic, dating, and sexual violence helpline for American Indians and Alaska Natives, offering culturally appropriate support and advocacy. They also provide a 24/7 helpline at 1-844-762-8483.
  • SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline: 1-877-726-4727 Youth can receive general information on mental health, locate treatment services in their area and speak to a live person Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Your confidential, toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network to connect you with a trained crisis worker to provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals.
  • 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+

  • You Are Not Alone Network: An online platform that amplifies the voices of Native youth and provides them with vital, culturally competent resources.
  • Lazarus Nance Letcher: A person using music, writing, and different forms of activism to share the stories of the QTBIPOC experience.
  • YMSM + LGBT Center of Excellence: This organization delivers culturally responsive and evidence-based prevention and treatment services for minority lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations dealing with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders.
  • Two Spirit and LGBTQ Health: An online platform that celebrates queer and Two Spirit individuals and their role in Indigenous society, brought together by the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board.
  • Rest for Resistance: This site contains articles written for queer persons of color by queer persons of color, providing reminders and tips to help you rest and recover.
  • National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network: This organization is committed to transforming the mental health of queer and trans people of color.
  • LGBTQ Psychotherapists of Color: A directory that matches LGBTQs of Color with licensed psychotherapists that are also a part of the same community. They also provide support, networking, leadership development, and community-building opportunities for LGBTQs of Color in psychology, social work, and counseling.
  • The Lesbians of Color Symposium (LOCS) Collective: A nonprofit dedicated to enriching the lives of LBTQ+ women and non-binary people of color through providing services and programming designed to educate, encourage and empower.

Youth & College Students

  • Circles of Care: A three-year grant program geared toward American Indian and Alaska Native communities. It helps children with severe emotional disturbances and their families obtain funding for tribal communities to improve youth mental health and provide a community-based support system.
  • Indigenous Story Studios: A non-profit dedicated to increasing mental health awareness among indigenous youth through illustrations, videos, posters, and comic books.
  • Center for Native American Youth: A national education and advocacy organization that works alongside Native youth—ages 24 and under—on reservations, in rural villages and urban spaces across the country to improve their health, safety, and overall well-being.
  • 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 program that develops trauma-related treatment protocols, outreach materials, and service delivery guidelines specifically designed for American Indian and Alaska Native children and their families.
  • Native Youth Perspectives on Mental Health and Healing: A panel organized by the Natural Resources Committee.

Substance Abuse

  • One Sky Center: This group is working to improve the prevention and treatment of mental health and substance use problems among Native people through mentorship and access to resources.
  • IHS Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention: This program is focused on methamphetamine and suicide prevention and intervention resources for Indian Country. This initiative promotes the use and development of evidence-based and culturally appropriate prevention and treatment approaches.
  • Tribal Affairs: Information on services the government agency provides to Native American communities to prevent suicide and substance abuse.
  • White Bison: An American Indian/Alaska Native non-profit charitable organization offering sobriety, recovery, addictions prevention, and wellness (Wellbriety) learning resources to the Native American/Alaska Native community nationwide.
  • BIPOC Only – Recovery Dharma: A virtual support group for BIPOC in recovery that is inspired by Buddhist techniques.

Domestic Violence

  • The Network/La Red: A social justice organization that works to end partner abuse in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, SM, polyamorous, and queer communities through anti-oppression principles, organizing, education, and the provision of support services. They also provide a 24-hour crisis line at 617-742-4911.
  • Women of Color Network Inc: This group works in and beyond the fields of domestic violence and sexual assault to address a broad range of violence affecting communities of color such as human trafficking, police brutality, and over-incarceration.
  • No More: This foundation is dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault against all genders by increasing awareness, inspiring action, and fueling cultural change.
  • The National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault (SCESA): This is a Women of Color-led non-profit committed to ensuring that systems-wide policies and social change initiatives related to sexual assault are informed by critical input and direction of Women of Color.
  • National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center: A Native-led non-profit with goals to end violence against Indigenous women by uplifting the collective voices of advocates and offering culturally grounded resources, assistance, and training to strengthen tribal sovereignty.