The cumulative emotional trauma spanning generations of American Indians and Alaska Natives—also known as historical or intergenerational trauma—continues to affect behavioral health and wellness among families and Tribes. But American Indian and Alaska Native communities are also resilient, drawing strength from their sense of identity and the importance of tradition and culture passed down by ancestors. Special considerations must be accounted for when working with this population. In this section, find information on engaging American Indian and Alaska Native children and families and resources on supporting and strengthening their mental health.
American Indian & Alaskan Native Mental Health
Reviews research on mental health in American Indian and Alaska Native communities and discusses disparities, protective factors, barriers to care, and ways to ensure access to mental health services.
Healing & Wellness
Capacity Building Center for Tribes, Tribal Information Exchange
Presents information on Tribal healing and wellness and provides examples of how American Indian and Alaska Native communities cultivate healing and build leadership from within. The resources also offer tips for child welfare professionals on topics such as self-care, using a trauma-informed approach, and engaging with American Indian families and communities.
Mental and Behavioral Health - American Indians/Alaska Natives
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health (2021)
Explores disproportionate rates of specific mental health symptoms within American Indian and Alaska Native populations compared with other ethnic groups within the United States.
Mental Health Disparities: Diverse Populations
American Psychiatric Association (2021)
Offers resources specific to Native Americans and Alaska Natives that present information about how cultural values and systemic injustices contribute to behavioral health disparities among indigenous people in the United States.
Missing and Murdered Native Americans (MMNA): A Public Health Framework for Action
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (2020)
Outlines policies and programs to help Native American children, families, and communities address the consequences of the victimization of Indigenous communities, specifically missing and murdered Native Americans.
Native and Indigenous Communities and Mental Health
Mental Health America (2021)
Provides an overview of the prevalence rates of mental health disorders among American Indian and Alaska Native communities, as well as common treatment issues and access to mental health services.
Outreach & Resources for Native American, Tribal & Indigenous Communities (PDF - 107 KB)
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (2021)
Presents information and resources for Native American, Tribal, and Indigenous communities on missing children from those communities.
Resources Specific to American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) Communities
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families
Provides a list of trauma-informed resources designed to support service providers in creating culturally responsive services and treatments for American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
TIP 61: Behavioral Health Services for American Indians and Alaska Natives
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2019)
Offers population-specific information and guidance to providers on delivering culturally responsive behavioral health services.