Increasing Culturally Responsive Care and Mental Health Equity With Indigenous Community Mental Health Workers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

There are 600 diverse American Indian/Alaska Native communities that represent strong and resilient snations throughout Indian Country. However, a history of genocidal practices, cultural assaults, and continuing oppression contribute to high rates of mental health and substance use disorders. Underresourced mental health care and numerous barriers to services maintain these disparities. Indigenous community mental health workers hold local understandings of history, culture, and traditional views of health and wellness and may reduce barriers to care while promoting tribal health and economic self-determination and sovereignty. The combination of Native community mental health workers alongside a growing workforce of Indigenous mental health professionals may create an ideal system in which tribal communities are empowered to restore balance and overall wellness, aligning with Native worldviews and healing traditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychological Services
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Mental Health
Personal Autonomy
North American Indians
Health
Population Groups
Substance-Related Disorders
History
Economics
Health Equity
Delivery of Health Care

Keywords

  • Alaska Native
  • American Indian
  • Community health worker
  • Indigenous
  • Mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

Cite this

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abstract = "There are 600 diverse American Indian/Alaska Native communities that represent strong and resilient snations throughout Indian Country. However, a history of genocidal practices, cultural assaults, and continuing oppression contribute to high rates of mental health and substance use disorders. Underresourced mental health care and numerous barriers to services maintain these disparities. Indigenous community mental health workers hold local understandings of history, culture, and traditional views of health and wellness and may reduce barriers to care while promoting tribal health and economic self-determination and sovereignty. The combination of Native community mental health workers alongside a growing workforce of Indigenous mental health professionals may create an ideal system in which tribal communities are empowered to restore balance and overall wellness, aligning with Native worldviews and healing traditions.",
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