The reasons for mental health issues among American Indian and Alaska Native children have not been well understood by investigators outside of tribal communities. Developing appropriate methodological approaches and evidence-based programs for helping these youths is an urgent priority in developmental science. This work must be done in ways that are cognizant of how the negative consequences of colonization contribute to American Indian and Alaska Native tribal members' underutilization of mental health services, higher therapy dropout rates, and poor response to culturally insensitive treatment programs.
This book examines the forces affecting psychological development and mental health in American Indian children today. Experts from leading universities discuss factors such as family conditions, economic status, and academic achievement, as well as political, social, national, and global influences, including racism. Specific attention is paid to topics such as the role of community in youth mental health issues, depression in American Indian parents, substance abuse and alcohol dependency, and the unique socioeconomic characteristics of this ethnic group.
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American Indian and Alaska Native youth suffer disproportionately higher rates of trauma, substance abuse, and youth suicide. At the same time, there is great diversity and many unacknowledged strengths in contemporary native communities that can and should be a part of any solution to these problems.About the Author:
Michelle Sarche is assistant professor at the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado, Denver, CO; a clinical psychologist; and a tribal member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe. Paul Spicer is professor of anthropology and faculty at the Center for Applied Social Research at the University of Oklahoma; and codirector of the American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Research Center. Patricia Farrell is assistant provost of University-Community Partnerships in the Office of University Outreach and Engagement at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI; and is an enrolled member of Taos Pueblo. Hiram E. Fitzgerald is series editor for the Praeger series, Child Psychology and Mental Health. He is associate provost for University Outreach and Engagement and University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.
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