October 10, 2022 is World Mental Health Day. The day provides an opportunity to bring awareness and encourage support for people experiencing mental health issues around the world including American Indian and Alaska Natives.
The Indian Health Service is the principle federal health care provider and health advocate for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The Division of Behavioral Health, within the Office of Clinical and Preventive Services, provides integrated health and wellness services that are holistic and culturally appropriate. In addition to services, grant funding is made available through the Behavioral Health Integration Initiative, Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative, Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention Program, and Zero Suicide Initiative. Grant opportunities focus on development of behavioral health programs that meet the needs of tribal nations and their members.
The Division of Behavioral Health partners with tribal nations on the inclusion of traditional healing practices which are an important element to treatment of American Indians and Alaska Natives within tribal communities. Language, practices, and traditions are inherent components that have the potential to address mental health needs as well as link American Indians and Alaska Natives to health care services. Traditional healing practices also serve as protective factors that promote healing, wellness, and recovery not just for mental health but also overall physical health, wellness, and wellbeing.
What you can do in observance of World Mental Health Day:
- Understand mental health issues are part of physical health and are equally as important.
- Connect with supportive people like friends and family to share your story or a difficulty you are experiencing to find support, remind yourself that you are not alone and can overcome the issue.
- Seek care. Tribal communities continue to grow and foster supportive, nurturing mental health treatments and services that are culturally appropriate, and culturally aware.
- Become aware and get involved. Share information about World Mental Health Day and resources. Understand and share the importance of mental health to supportive family and friends to increase awareness and decrease stigma.
- Share 988 for anyone experiencing a difficult time. Make mental health a priority for all. “988” is the three-digit, nationwide phone number to connect directly to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. By calling or texting 988, you’ll connect with mental health professionals with the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
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