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Rebuilding trust: a community, multiagency, state, and university partnership to improve behavioral health care for American Indian Youth, their families, and communities


  • This research was supported by the New Mexico Department of Health Office of School and Adolescent Health. The first author's time was partially funded by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH K01 MH074816).

    We acknowledge the contributions of Lynn Abeita, Charvel Baldwin, Aaron Carr, Kris Carrillo, Georgina Castro, Gloria Collins, Yolanda Cordova, Krystal Curley, Josephine Dailey, Lorenzo Garcia, Myra Gould, Jana Gunnell, Erin O'Keefe, Ophelia Reeder, Jacob Salabiye, Howard Spiegelman, Emily Stafford, Chenoa Bah Stillwell-Jensen, Joseph Stone, and Casey Tom. We also thank and express our gratitude to the following traditional practitioners who guided our work: T.J. Anderson, Ray Daw, Lincoln Nez, and Aricke Willie, and the community members and service providers who participated in our study.


American Indian/Alaska Native youth represent the strength and survival of many Nations and Tribes. However, the aftermath of colonialism has resulted in numerous health disparities and challenges for Native youth, including the highest rate of suicide in the United States. With the aims of elucidating the causes of behavioral health disparities, eliminating them, and improving behavioral health care for Native youth, a partnership of providers, community members, and university faculty and staff completed a comprehensive literature review, conducted advisory meetings with 71 American Indian youth, parents, and elders, surveyed 25 service providers, and engaged in ongoing consultation with traditional practitioners. Results from the multiple sources were synthesized and are reported with 20 policy, provider, and research recommendations that recognize the importance of moving beyond exclusive reliance on western models of care and that seek to foster transformation of individuals, families, communities, behavioral health service systems of care, and social structures. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.