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


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.

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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.

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Correspondence to Chantel D. Sloan.

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Payne, H.E., Steele, M., Bingham, J.L. et al. Identifying and Reducing Disparities in Mental Health Outcomes Among American Indians and Alaskan Natives Using Public Health, Mental Healthcare and Legal Perspectives. Adm Policy Ment Health 45, 5–14 (2018).

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  • Disparities
  • Depression
  • Suicide
  • Federal grants