Reconsidering culturally competent approaches to american Indian healing and well-being. Academic Article uri icon


  • There is an urgent need to eliminate mental health disparities experienced by American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs). Service providers and researchers often address these disparities by focusing on low rates of participation in Western mental health services. In part, this reflects limited understandings of the sociopolitical and historical context of AI/AN mental health problems. Furthermore, this emphasis fails to recognize the importance of emic understandings of locally resonant coping strategies, healing, and treatment. In this article, we describe (a) a study designed to address these gaps, (b) findings related to the importance of land and place, and (c) a community-university collaboration to translate these findings into meaningful change within one Diné community. Connections to the land were an important cultural strength on which to build efforts to promote mental health. Thus, effective treatment might involve more in-depth understanding of cultural processes through which healing occurs and well-being is maintained.© The Author(s) 2014.

publication date

  • April 2015