What if we told you that there was a 139% increase in completed suicides among Native American females over the last two decades. That in fact, Native American males are incarcerated at four times the rate of their peers. Would that shock you? The truth is, American Indians face a unique set of challenges bred on everything from historical trauma to institutionalized racism and even face unwelcomed discrimination.
Do your research, and you will find that the statistics are shocking. Minorities are plagued with significant barriers that impact their mental health. And, we can save lives by empowering ourselves with the knowledge to be culturally competent in all of our interactions.
We spoke with Associate Clinical Director, Al Falcon, on the mental health challenges faced by Native Americans in Montana. By the early ’90s, Al confronted the heavy loss of nine suicides within his family and has valuable insights to share on this critical topic.
Providers in Montana have a responsibility to deliver services in the most culturally inclusive way. More so, as humans, we’re all called to embrace our neighbors, making an effort to understand the social forces that shape their world.
Remember, the first step to ending prejudice is education and keeping an open mind. For those interested in learning more about providing social services to minority populations, check out our blog, “How to Practice Culturally Sensitive Social Work.”