Mental Health Disparities: American Indians and Alaska Natives

Research on mental health among American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) is limited by the small size of this population and by its heterogeneity. Nevertheless, existing research suggests that AI/AN youths and adults suffer a disproportionate burden of mental health problems and disorders.

Among AI/AN people, there is a wide range of beliefs about illness, healing, and health. The concept of mental illness and beliefs about why and how it develops have many different meanings and interpretations among AI/AN people. Often physical complaints and psychological concerns are not distinguished and AI/ANs may express emotional distress in ways that are not consistent with standard diagnostic categories.

Population of focus: American Indians and Alaska Natives

Link to resource: SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions

Date: 2010

Organization: American Psychiatric Association, Office of Minority and National Affairs