A Culturally Informed Systematic Review of Mental Health Disparities Among Adult Indigenous Men and Women of the USA: What is known?


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Related to a broader context of historical oppression, Indigenous peoples of the USA are overburdened with the mental health challenges that social workers tend to treat, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, suicide and substance use disorders (SUD). The purpose of this systematic review is to use the Framework of Historical Oppression, Resilience and Transcendence (FHORT) to identify empirical research on risk and protective factors related to mental health and SUD amongst these populations. This systematic review includes peer-reviewed quantitative and qualitative research articles from 1980 to 2017 focusing on the mental health of US Indigenous adults. A total of thirty-eight peer-reviewed empirical articles met inclusion criteria. Results reveal adults within Indigenous populations are at a high risk for mental health outcomes, including PTSD, depression, suicide, SUD and comorbidity across these outcomes. Underlying risk factors across outcomes included historical oppression and loss, family problems and SUD. Protective factors tended to include family and social support and engagement with tribal cultural activities. Significant variability was identified based on gender and geographic regions. Given that protective factors tended to include cultural, familial and community tenets, holistic approaches are the most promising programmes for social workers to work towards.

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