Assessing Mental Health Issues in Indigenous Communities (Sioux)

Assessing Mental Health Issues in Indigenous Communities (Sioux)



Vanessa Noelle Ocampo Bautista, Madeline Sierra Hendrix


Presentation: 1:15 p.m.-2:30 p.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom



The lack of acknowledgement by the American Psychological Association of mental health problems in Indigenous communities and its failure to identify culture-specific disorders, results in inadequate training of mental health professionals serving in these communities. The 25 conditions that the physicians failed to address for over 100 years which include, “Pibloktoq (arctic hysteria), chidnoh (a form of ghost sickness), windigo (melancholia and delusions), schwas (spirit intrusion), and iich’aa (taboo breaking)” (Grandbois 1008). Leaving these as unrecognized disorders results in many indigenous people turning to traditional ways of healing and feeling that most non-indigenous people should not use spiritual or healing methods. They believe modern psychology has failed them and it can be perceived to be a form of social control, as history has suggested. One way to solve these ongoing issues is by assigning the clinician to a Native mentor or having them live with and meet the community members. In an article from the National Institute of Mental Health, researchers suggest that “‘mainstream clinicians’ ought to consult with indigenous practitioners about the expressions of mental disorders among indigenous people. Such recommendations should become a required action and a practice guideline for all practitioners who are not culturally competent to provide quality care to AIAN people'' (Lewis). Psychologists need indigenous mentors and integration in the community to have a better understanding of the culture. Through the specific language that the therapist uses, adequate cultural training, knowledge of tribal law, government support, and respect for Indigenous therapy, treatment between the patient and therapist can be improved. This poster explores the mental health issues and solutions specific to the Siouxland community.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Capstone Project

Primary Advisor

Nancy Gilles Romer

Primary Advisor's Department

Premedical Programs


Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

Assessing Mental Health Issues in Indigenous Communities (Sioux)