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SAMHSA News - Volume XI, Number 2, Spring 2003

SAMHSA-Funded Projects Highlight American Indians & Alaska Natives

(Related Content)

Native American Health Center Circle of Care

Figure format: Four concentric circles divided into four quadrants of equal size The Native American Health Center Circle of Care is a holistic system of care for Native Americans in an urban environment.

The innermost circle (core) represents the four elements — air, water, earth, and fire. The next circle moving outward connects a person to these elements. In the Native tradition (as depicted in this graphic), thought is related to air, water to feelings, earth to body, and fire to spirit. Again moving outward, the next circle connects the quadrant of thought and air to learning disorders, victimization, and mental stress; the quadrant of feelings and water are related to domestic violence, family dysfunction, and emotional disturbance; the quadrant of body and earth are related to homelessness, poverty, hunger, and physical illness; and the quadrant of spirit and fire are related to substance abuse, alcoholism, and crime. The outermost circle connects the symptoms of each related element and its human counterpart to solutions. For the thought and air quadrant, solutions to learning disorders, victimization, and mental illness include education, leadership training, good intention, life skills training, empowerment, and treatment. The feelings and water quadrant solutions to domestic violence, dysfunctional families, and emotional disturbance include positive parenting, community mobilization, laughter and tears, family preservation, and communications skills.

Solutions to body/earth quadrant symptoms include affordable housing, economic development, herbs and nutrition, job training, and wellness education. For the fire/spirit quadrant, solutions include prevention, self-help, Red Road, prayer, Native programs, and traditional culture.

Quadrants and their symptoms affect and solutions coordinate to community systems of care including the school, mental health, welfare to work, managed health care, and criminal justice systems as well as traditional housing.

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