Content Warning: This piece contains mentions of suicide statistics.
Today is Indigenous People’s Day, a day to commemorate the histories and cultures of many Indigenous communities. While we celebrate the diversity of Indigenous peoples and their strong connections to community, family, and traditions, we also acknowledge the impact colonialism has made on their communities. This has been attributed to historical trauma that has impacted Indigenous peoples mental health. As we offer this acknowledgement, we must also uplift the importance of Indigenous mental health.
Native American high school students are twice as likely to experience depression and seriously consider suicide as compared to their peers. Indigenous people experience higher rates of mental health issues and suicidal ideation compared to their white counterparts.
Indigenous peoples’ mental health matters. Having culturally appropriate and relevant resources can be life-changing; that’s one reason why it’s important to amplify resources by organizations like We R Native, a comprehensive health foundation for Native youth, and by Native youth, created through storytelling. They have a number of ways youth and young adults can get more information and support about their mental health. If you’re still looking for additional support, you can find resources below on a variety of topics, including LGBTQ+ Indigenous mental health, suicide prevention in Indigenous communities, and youth-specific resources.
- We R Native Resources:
- Ask Your Relatives – Ask an anonymous question about your health and receive a response back from one of the We R Native experts.
- My Mind – Read tips about cultivating good mental health and sign-up for weekly texts of support.
- Ambassadors – Become a We R Native Ambassador and contribute to the resources and programs they offer.
- Center for Native American Youth – Find resources on topics related to mental health, domestic violence, COVID-19, and more.
- Native Youth Sexual Health Network – Discover resources about mental health, sexual health, reproductive health, and more.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness – Provides resources for receiving culturally competent care to support your mental health, including helplines and a “Find a Therapist” tool within Native American communities.
- StrongHearts Native Helpline – Domestic violence and dating violence hotline offering culturally appropriate support for Native Americans and Alaska Natives, both by phone and online.
The Active Minds team works from coast to coast and we acknowledge that our communities occupy the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of many Native Peoples today and we honor the traditions, cultures, and histories that make up the Indigenous population. One way to continue to honor Indigenous communities beyond today is to ensure that there is ample and appropriate healthcare for all. Mental health is a universal experience; everyone has it, and everyone deserves resources that can help them best take care of themselves. Take time today to reflect on how you can best protect your mental health, and make a plan of how you can accomplish that. You are worth it.