The purpose of the study was to document the perceived and actual mental health and substance abuse issues of residents living on a remote reservation in the Northwestern United States. Surveys were completed by 138 Native Americans, who reported on mental health status and problems, perceptions of personal and community health issues on the reservation, and patterns of substance use and abuse (e.g., how often respondents use alcohol, what drugs present the most serious problems on the reservation). The respondents perceived their own mental health to be quite good. However, they reported that several mental health problems were prevalent in their community including alcohol/drug abuse, mood disorders, and spousal abuse/domestic violence. In addition, although respondents themselves reported little substance abuse, the most serious perceived problems in both their families and the community were related to substance abuse. Respondents not only recognized the problems caused by substance abuse on the reservation; they also had valuable suggestions for how to reduce this problem, including recreational/after school programs, education about substance abuse, cultural activities, and appropriate treatment services, including traditional or faith-based healing methods.
This document was originally published by Marshall University in Journal of Rural Community Psychology. Copyright restrictions may apply.
McDonald, Theodore W. and Pritchard, Mary E.. (2010). "Mental Health and Substance Abuse Issues Among Native Americans Living on a Remote Reservation: Results from a Community Survey". Journal of Rural Community Psychology, E13(1), 1-12.