American Indians and Alaskan Natives
- Past attempts to eradicate native culture, including forced transfers of youngsters to government-run boarding schools away from their families and homes, have been associated with negative mental health consequences. American Indians and Alaskan Natives are also the most impoverished of today's minority groups. More than one-quarter live in poverty.
- Certain DSM diagnoses, such as major depressive disorder, do not correspond directly to the categories of illness recognized by some American Indians.
- Four out of five American Indians do not live on reservations, but most of the facilities run by the government's Indian Health Service are located on reservation lands.
- One study found higher rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and long-term alcohol(Drug information on alcohol) abuse among American Indian veterans of the Vietnam war than among their white American, African American or Japanese American counterparts.
- In one study, American Indian youth were found to have rates of psychiatric disorders comparable to their white American counterparts, but "for white children, poverty doubled the risk of mental disorders, whereas poverty was not associated with increased risk of mental disorders among American Indian children." American Indian youngsters were also much more likely to be found suffering from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and substance abuse or substance dependence disorders.
- Twenty percent of American Indian elders who were studied in one urban clinic reported significant psychiatric symptoms.
- While many AI/ANs prefer ethnically matched providers, only about 101 AI/AN mental health care professionals are available per 100,000 members of this ethnic group, compared with 173 per 100,000 for white Americans. In 1996, only an estimated 29 psychiatrists in the United States were of AI/AN heritage.