Identifying and Reducing Disparities in Mental Health Outcomes Among American Indians and Alaskan Natives Using Public Health, Mental Healthcare and Legal Perspectives

  • Hannah E. Payne
  • Michalyn Steele
  • Jennie L. Bingham
  • Chantel D. Sloan


The purpose of this paper was to investigate disparities in mental healthcare delivery in American Indian/Alaska Native populations from three perspectives: public health, legal policy and mental healthcare and provide evidence-based recommendations toward reducing those disparities. Data on mental health funding to tribes were obtained from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. As a result of analysis of these data, vital statistics and current literature, we propose three recommendations to reduce mental health disparities. First, where possible, increase mental health funding opportunities for federally-recognized tribes. Second, model funding practices on principles of tribal self-determination. Finally, support diverse interventions that are culturally-based and culturally-appropriate.


Disparities Depression Suicide SAMHSA Federal grants 



The authors kindly acknowledge Sheila Cooper and SAMHSA for providing access to data on funding to federally-recognized American Indian/Alaska Native tribes.


This study was funded by Ira and Mary Lou Fulton Gift Fund at Brigham Young University.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All author declares that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

10488_2016_777_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 14 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health ScienceBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.J. Reuben Clark Law SchoolBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  3. 3.Counseling and Psychological ServicesBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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