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Studies lacking on mental health among Natives

Native Americans suffer from the highest rates of suicide but finding out why is a difficult task due to lack of studies on the mental health of American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Likewise, Native Americans are all but excluded from clinical trials of psychiatric drugs for depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and attention deficit disorder, some of which may be linked to suicide. Of years of studies reviewed by UCLA researchers, there absolutely no Native patients.

Spero Manson, a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado who has studied Native mental health, said Native people aren't inclined to participate in clinical trials. "Native communities feel they have been used as guinea pigs for research purposes to support the agenda of the biomedical world," he told The Washington Post.

Marcello Maviglia, a psychiatrist who has with Native patients in New Mexico, said some feel their Native traditions are rejected by Western doctors and medicine. Some mental health workers, like Iron Cloud-Two Dogs, rely heavily on Native treatments to deal with problems like depression.

Get the Story:
Healers Prescribe Tribal Tradition (The Washington Post 6/25)
Patients' Diversity Is Often Discounted (The Washington Post 6/25)

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