Native Communities of Care Reflects on 2014

In our Native American communities, mini-grants were awarded to organizations that utilized Native Communities of Care messaging as well as integrating stigma and discrimination reduction messages into a new or existing program. From July 1 to December 30, 2014, the 14 Native Communities of Care grantees sponsored a variety of projects and events to serve more than 5,000 Californians. On December 11 all of our grantees gathered in Sacramento for a summit to talk about the work that was done to reduce stigma in their communities. The following is an account of activities organized throughout California:

  • The American Indian Counseling Center and Red Circle Project in Los Angeles County hosted the “Reflections of Native Wellness” symposium, focusing on mental health in the two-spirit Native American community.
  • California Consortium for Urban Indian Health hosted a talking circle and photo shoot in Alameda County to create mental health advertisements for all urban Indian Health Clinics.
  • California Indian Museum and Cultural Center hosted a youth camp in Sonoma County, where participants created public service announcements about wellness.
  • Fresno American Indian Health Project worked with community stakeholders to include mental health information at the annual Health Fair. Attendees were able to learn about mental health, how to find support, and speak with youth leaders who created videos about mental health.
  • Friendship House Association of American Indians, Inc. in San Francisco County incorporated the Native Communities of Care stigma reduction messaging in all of their youth activities. This included their “Back to School-Back to Culture” event and annual powwow.
  • Kern County Department of Mental Health presented the Native American Cultural and Wellness Fall Gathering. The first portion of the event trained county staff and other community members in strengthening relationships with tribal communities. The afternoon included a wellness fair, talking circles, drumming, dancing and cultural presentations.
  • Nor Rel Muk Wintu Nation in Trinity County hosted a cultural wellness summit focusing on wellness and traditional spirituality. They also partnered with the Trinity County Mental Health Department to host Native American Cultural Competency training for county staff.
  • Pinoleville Native American Head Start in Mendocino County hosted a Mental Health and Wellness Day, which included speakers with lived experience and traditional activities. The event also focused on honoring elders and supporting youth.
  • Round Valley Indian Health Center held four stigma reduction and wellness events in Mendocino County. They used the GONA (Gathering of Native Americans) Model to ensure community participation and ensure access to mental health services.
  • Southern California Indian Center, Inc. partnered with the United American Indian Involvement to create a wellness brochure and services guide for Los Angeles County. They also hosted the 46th annual SCIC Powwow in Orange County and used that event to disseminate mental health information to the community.
  • Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians partnered with the Tuolumne County Mental Health Department to host Cultural Competency training for county staff. They also sponsored a Men’s Wellness Gathering that included a dynamic speaking program and workshops.
  • United American Indian Involvement partnered with the Southern California Indian Center to create a wellness brochure and services guide for Los Angeles County. They also hosted the 13th annual Indian Day to share information, along with partnering with Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health to host the American Indian/Alaska Native Mental Health Conference.
  • Viejas Band of Kumeyaay hosted a Wellness Fair in San Diego County. Participants were able to visit over 20 informational booths which included information on mental health, stigma reduction, suicide prevention, spiritual wellness and other health topics.
  • Wintu Tribe of Northern California hosted several community events in Shasta County focusing on opening communication between the tribes, County Mental Health Departments, school sites and community partners to ensure support for community members dealing with mental health challenges.

In addition to the grantees, Native Communities of Care also worked with Paul Tupaz and Dean Hoaglin, two trainers that traveled throughout the state to support grantee efforts and provide cultural competency trainings.

The Native Communities of Care grantees have made great strides in 2014 and these organizations now have the tools to continue to reduce mental health stigma and discrimination in 2015 and beyond. To see the program in action, please watch our youth-created video detailing the program here.