Addressing Depression Among American Indians and Alaska Natives: A Literature Review

This report synthesizes research, expert opinion and summarizes existing programs to highlight approaches to address depression through outreach, education, screening and treatment.

The purpose of this report is to highlight and review literature, programs and activities focused on depression and other common mental health conditions in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities in the United States. In 2010 the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) initiated its Health Equity Project in order to examine the health disparities affecting urban AI/AN communities. This report represents a synthesis of academic (articles in scholarly, typically peer-reviewed journals) and grey literature (from a variety of sources including websites, online documents, government reports and presentations). This combination of findings is uncommon in typical reviews of depression and mental health among AI/ANs, which tend to focus on peer-reviewed academic literature.

This report provides background information on the prevalence of and factors associated with depression and common mental health conditions in AI/ANs as well as a description of mental health care standards, utilization trends and barriers to care. The procedures and inclusion criteria used in this literature review are detailed in the methods section. Due to the limited availability of outcomes and evaluation information in the sources identified, the results here do not present evidenced-based or best practices for depression but rather focus on the themes identified regarding implications for care as well as descriptions of programs in practice and useful resources. For organizations serving urban AI/ANs, it is intended that this information be useful for program planning purposes and proposal development.

Population of focus: Organizations serving urban American Indians and Alaska Natives

Link to resource: Addressing Depression Among American Indians and Alaska Natives: A Literature Review (pdf)

Date: 2012

Organization: Urban Indian Health Institute