Psychiatric News November 5, 2004, Volume 39 Number 21, American Psychiatric Association
This article describes the presentation given by Frank Brown,M.D., chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Committee of American Indian, Alaska Native,and Native Hawaiian Psychiatrists at the 2004 IndianHealth Summit in Washington, D.C., in September 2004. The summit was held by the Indian Health Service (IHS). APAreaches out to American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) college students, medicalstudents, and psychiatry residents in the hopes of adding morediversity to the psychiatric workforce and focuses onthe need for improved mental health services in AI/AN communities. Dr. Brown outlined the importance of educating AI/AN people about major mental illnessesand their impact on communities and the need to be aggressive about suicide preventionin this population. He emphasizedthe need to teach AI/AN people that depression is “common,treatable, and does not imply a weakness in character.” Brown also discussed the importance of preventingearly onset of alcohol and drug abuse in AI/AN people,who have been found to be as much as seven times more likelyto have alcohol-related problems as those in the general population. Brown also addressed the need to recruit AI/AN people intothe psychiatric work-force.