Native American Heritage Month

Native American Woman

November 29, 2021 (On behalf of the Office of Mental Health, Office of Diversity and Inclusion)


As we celebrate Native American Heritage Month this year, OMH wishes to reaffirm its commitment to reducing disparities in access, quality and treatment outcomes for marginalized and underserved populations.

Native American Heritage Month, also commonly referred to as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Native communities. Additionally, it provides an opportunity to educate individuals about the unique challenges faced by these communities historically and presently.

OMH recognizes that Indigenous communities have faced longstanding oppression, discrimination and violence throughout much of U.S. history. These experiences include forced resettlement, residential boarding schools and cultural deterioration and have led to multigenerational trauma and inequities. OMH continues to have focused attention on ensuring there is increased education around the impact that these experiences and multigenerational trauma has had on Indigenous communities. In alignment with these efforts, OMH has collaborated with subject matter experts, discipline leads and members of the Indigenous community to create the following resource, Spotlight on Indigenous Communities. This resource provides additional information about the culture and strengths of Indigenous communities as well as the unique experiences they have faced.

Spotlight on Indigenous Communities

Additionally, OMH continues to foster relationships with organizations focused on providing guidance, support and best practice approaches to serving Indigenous individuals. The Spotlight on Indigenous Communities provides direct links and contact information for many of these organizations. You are encouraged to explore this resource and share with others.

Additionally, OMH continues to enhance its efforts to ensuring mental health services are provided in a manner that is culturally and linguistically appropriate to all individuals. These efforts include the addition of equity language to all agency RFPs and licensing tools. The equity language is grounded in The National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services and includes specific requirements ensuring that all mental health service providers are knowledgeable of prevalent cultural groups in their respective catchment areas and implement strategies to best serve these communities. These efforts continue to hold the mental health system accountable to improving service delivery and access to care for marginalized and underserved communities.

This Native American Heritage Month, we invite you to join OMH in promoting an inclusive and respectful environment for all New Yorkers!

Matthew Canuteson
Pronouns: He, Him, His
Diversity and Inclusion Officer
Office of Diversity and Inclusion
New York State Office of Mental Health
44 Holland Ave 2nd Floor
Albany, NY 12229

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