Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, and according to Indian Health Services, American Indians and Alaska Natives are particularly vulnerable. Some Indigenous youth don’t benefit from western style therapy.
“There’s a lack of mental health resources that are made available and specifically cater to indigenous people,” said Blu Cornell. “It’s not just if you’re doing well physically, we take into consideration your spiritual health, your mental health, your physical health, and all these different factors that play into that.”
She wants the system to change. She wants to Indigenize mental health care.
Dee BigFoot is a child psychologist and the director of the Indian Country Child Trauma Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She also stresses the importance of culturally enhanced therapy practices.
Dee says because of past experiences with social service organizations, many Indigenous people don’t trust professional mental health services. Something Blu agrees with. She also thinks that non-Native therapists don’t know how to deal with something a lot of Native people struggle with: intergenerational trauma.
Read more at KOSU.org.