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American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health: Diverse Perspectives on Enduring Disparities

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About the Course:

This article addresses several important factors associated with the provision of mental health services to American Indian/Alaskan Native populations; including the following:
1. Societal shifts in ethno-racial identification whereby formerly non-Native individuals are increasingly self-reporting American Indian/Alaskan Native identities is rendering mental health status of these groups increasingly difficult to study.
2. American Indian/Alaskan Natives suffer from specific mental health disparities including proportionately high rates of substance abuse, posttraumatic stress, youth behavior problems, and suicide.
3. Mental health services provided specifically for American Indian/Alaskan Natives are funded primarily by the federal government and administered by the Indian Health Service or tribal governments.
4. Although a few evidence-based treatments have been culturally adapted for use with American Indian/Alaskan Native clients, very little empirical intervention outcome research has been conducted with these populations.
5. Many American Indian/Alaskan Natives are skeptical toward or dismissive of mainstream mental health services owing to differences in cultural orientation and commitments to tribal self-determination.
The authors conclude by presenting two distinctive pathways toward future elimination of American Indian/Alaskan Native mental health disparities. These include (1) solutions grounded in professional knowledge, activities, and institutions in the context of clinical health services, and (2) alternative pathways grounded in local American Indian/Alaskan Native knowledge, activities, and institutions in the context of community projects of cultural reclamation and tribal self-determination.

This course is based on the reading-based online article, American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health: Diverse Perspectives on Enduring Disparities created by Joseph P. Gone and Joseph E. Trimble in 2012.


Annual Review of Clinical Psychology

Publication Date:


Course Material Authors

Course Material Authors authored the material only, and were not involved in creating this CE course. They are identified here for your own evaluation of the relevancy of the material this course is based on.

Joseph P. Gone
Joseph P. Gone is associate professor of Psychology (Clinical Area) and American Culture (Native American Studies) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Gone has published more than 50 articles and chapters exploring the cultural psychology of self, identity, personhood, and social relations in indigenous community settings vis-à-vis the mental health professions, with particular attention to therapeutic interventions such as psychotherapy and traditional healing.
Joseph E. Trimble
Joseph E. Trimble is a Professor of Psychology at Western Washington University. Throughout his career he has focused his efforts on promoting psychological and sociocultural research with indigenous populations, especially American Indians and Alaska Natives. Such efforts have included the presentation of over 150 papers, invited addresses, and invited lectures at professional meetings, and generated over 140 publications and technical reports on topics in psychology and higher education research including 18 authored or edited books. Dr. Trimble's excellence in teaching and research has been recognized by his peers over the years, resulting in numerous academic awards.

Course Creator

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially addiction counselors, psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers, and nurses who seek knowledge about substance abuse on Amercan Indians and Alaska Natives. It is appropriate for intermediate to advanced levels of participants' knowledge.

Course Objectives:

After taking this course, you should be able to:

  1. Recognize the specific challenges of identifying and defining American Indian/Alaskan Natives.
  2. Summarize the disparities in mental health status that afflict American Indian/Alaskan Natives.
  3. Identify key factors regarding American Indian/Alaskan Native mental health sevices including their availability and effectiveness.
  4. Examine competing alternatives for how best to remedy the mental health problems of American Indian/Alaskan Natives.


Disclosure of Relevant Financial Relationships

Disclosure of Relevant Financial Relationships

CE Learning Systems, LLC is an independent provider of continuing medical education. CE Learning Systems, LLC has no proprietary or financial interest in medical or healthcare products over which the FDA (USA) or EMA (EU) has regulatory authority.

In accordance with our disclosure policies, CE Learning Systems, LLC is committed to ensuring balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor for all accredited continuing education. These policies include assigning relevance to, and mitigating, all perceived or real conflicts of interest between any individual with control over the content and any ineligible company (commercial interest).

Any individual with control over accredited content, including planner, faculty, and reviewer, is required to globally disclose:

  1. Individual relationship(s) or lack thereof, and its nature, with any/all ineligible company, and
  2. any investigational, off-label, or non-FDA approved content or discussion

CE Learning Systems, LLC has reviewed these disclosures, assigned relevance based on the relationship and scope of content, and identified those with the potential to compromise the goals and educational integrity of the education. Relevant relationships, or lack thereof, are shared with the learner.

Education has been independently peer-reviewed to validate content, mitigate identified conflicts of interest, and ensure:

  1. All recommendations involving clinical medicine is based on evidence that is accepted within the medical profession as adequate justification for their indications and contraindications in the care of patients.
  2. All scientific research referred to, reported, or used in accredited continuing education in support or justification of a patient care recommendation conforms to the generally accepted standards of experimental design, data collection, and analysis.
  3. Content is appropriate, fair and balanced, unbiased, referenced, and non-promotional.

The planners have reported the following: There are no relevant disclosures.

Course Material Authors

The authors have disclosed any disclosures within the material.

Course Creator: Ryan Gibson, CADC #123456
There are no relevant disclosures.
Commercial support

There is no commercial support for this distance-learning course.

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Course Number 102175
4 CE credit hours
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  • Reading-Based Online
Exam Fee $23.88
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