Journal of Public Health Policy and Planning

Research Article - Journal of Public Health Policy and Planning (2018) Volume 2, Issue 1

Substance use and mental health: preliminary surveillance findings from an American Indian population.

Substance use and mental health disorders have increased in the last 15 years and impact public health. Public health surveillance of substance use and mental health (SUMH) is needed to inform planning, implementation, and evaluation of SUMH programs and policies. American Indian populations experience some of the most severe health disparities related to SUMH; however, American Indian populations are often excluded in federal, state, and county SUMH surveillance activities. These results in a gap in knowledge about prevalence, intervention, and policy needs related to SUMH among American Indian populations. To address this gap, the Rocky Mountain Tribal Epidemiology Center (RMTEC) implemented a 1-year pilot study to examine SUMH surveillance in American Indian populations. The main objectives of this pilot study were to: 1) determine what kinds of SUMH surveillance is occurring in communities served by the RMTEC, and 2) document the strengths and challenges of SUMH surveillance in this population. Using an evaluative case study design, the authors used a mixed-methods approach to examine multiple data sources. A conceptual framework guided the analysis process. Results indicate that limited SUMH surveillance is occurring in communities and programs served by RMTEC. Of the 18 SUMH recommended indicators, only eight are indicators are available for American Indians. Challenges and strengths are identified along with recommendations for future SUMH surveillance in American Indian populations.

Author(s): Allyson Kelley*, Michael Andreini

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