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The mission of the Indian Health Service is to raise the health status of the American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) people to the highest level possible. The vision of the Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) is integrated health and wellness that is holistic, encompassing all aspects of the mental, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of AI/AN individuals, families and communities.
DBH's mission encompasses the following eight goals:
- To improve the overall health care of AI/AN individuals, families, villages, communities, and Tribes;
- To reduce the prevalence and incidence of alcoholism and other drug dependencies;
- To reduce the prevalence and incidence of behavioral health diseases and conditions;
- To maximize positive behavioral health and resilience in individuals, families, and communities;
- To support the efforts of AI/AN communities toward achieving excellence in holistic behavioral health treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention services for individuals and their families;
- To advocate for and support Tribal and Urban Indian behavioral health treatment and prevention efforts;
- To promote the capacity for self-determination, self-governance, and service delivery; and
- To advocate for AI/AN people and service providers by actively participating in professional, regulatory, educational, and community organizations at the national, State, Urban, and Tribal levels.
In 2011, IHS published a behavioral health strategic plan and a briefing book detailing goals and objectives for dealing with suicide, alcoholism, substance abuse, and other behavioral health issues in Indian Country, renewing IHS partnerships with Tribes, forming collaborations with other agencies and organizations, reforming IHS along with emerging national health care laws, and improving access to and quality of care.
IHS's Behavioral Health fact sheet page contains overview information on the program and is also available to download in PDF format.
The Prevention & Recovery Newsletter, produced by HHS’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), highlights prevention practices and success stories in Indian Country. The newsletter provides tools, resources, and information to educate and to address alcohol and drug use disorders in Tribal communities.