For National Native American Heritage Month in November, we celebrate the diverse and rich culture, history, and traditions of California’s first people (California’s Native American Heritage Commission and the Library of Congress). We also provide information on mental health impacts and support for California’s Native American communities:
Mental Health Impacts
Disparities: “American Indians and Alaska Natives have consistently experienced disparities in access to healthcare services, funding, and resources; quality and quantity of services; treatment outcomes; and health education and prevention services. Availability, accessibility, and acceptability of behavioral health services are major barriers to recovery for American Indians and Alaska Natives.” (SAMHSA)
Depression, Suicide: American Indian and Alaska Native youth and middle-aged persons have the highest rate of suicide, (NIMH, CDC) and can be at higher risk for depression (Suicide Prevention Lifeline).
Alcohol and Substance Abuse: Native Americans experience higher rates of alcohol and substance use. (SAMHSA)
Stress and Trauma: Native Americans experience serious psychological distress 1.5 times more than the general population (American Psychiatric Association)
Racism and Discrimination: The negative physical and mental health impacts of racism and discrimination include depression, stress, anxiety, and hypertension. (CPEHN, California Department of Public Health)
Barriers to Care, Including Stigma: Native Americans are significantly more likely to seek help from a spiritual healer for mental health challenges than from specialty or other medical sources. In our 2018-2019 State of the Community report, we recommended reducing perceived stigma through use of culturally responsive models and programs.
Mental Health Support for Native American Communities
Native American Providers in California
Mental Health Support Guide for Native Families (Each Mind Matters)
Office of Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention: 240-276-2400; IASA@samhsa.hhs.gov
Native American Health Center: Alameda County, 800-309-2131; San Francisco, 415- 781-0500; National, 800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: Text NAMI to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message.
NAMI Helpline: Call 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) M-F, 7 am to 3 pm PT for free mental health info, referrals and support. More from NAMI.
Community Voices: Sharing Native American Insights and Stories
Drawing from American Indian Heritage to Spread a Message of Hope (NAMI)
Each Mind Matters video stories
Are you a community member from a Native American community that has been impacted by mental illness? Share your insights and stories.