Depression in Indian Country

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By Marissa Torres

There are 2.8% of Native Americans living in Douglas County and about half of them in Douglas County are treated at the Haskell Indian Health Center. “We see different people across the board. It ranges on what they are depressed about and what other health issues is happening.” commented a Performance Improvement Specialist at the Health Center.

According to Mental Health America, Natives are 10%-30% at risk of experiencing depression and many of those already have depression. Only about 32% are given treatment for the mental disorders.

American Indians have the highest rate of suicide and  suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in Native communities, according to The Suicide Prevention Resource Center. There are a number of reasons why Natives are the highest risk of suicide, but primarily anxiety and substance abuse are to blame. The center says that the protective factors against suicide is to discuss problems with family or friends, being close to the family, and being in good emotional health.

“People think that depression is just one thing when there are multiple reasons on why people are depressed, it gets triggered on by something else.” Performance Improvement Specialist.
Angelina Adams, a guidance counselor, here at Haskell Indian Nations University at the counseling office, states “All students can talk to anyone, they don’t need a PHD to help someone.” Adams continues on that if a student is approaching someone “approach them in a non-threatening way. Basic human instinct will kick in, they will either have the flight or fight response. You want to deescalate them, calm them down.”

The counseling center is located in Stidham Union and is open 8 AM-6PM Monday through Friday.