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American Indian and Alaska Native: Tribal Affairs

Resources on this population include national survey reports, agency and federal initiatives, and related behavioral health resources.

Data and ReportsBehavioral Health

SAMHSA Programs and Initiatives

SAMHSA’s Tribal Affairs Agenda

The tribal affairs agenda includes opportunities for informed communication with tribal leaders on SAMHSA policies and programs to improve behavioral health among Native American populations. The primary focus of SAMHSA’s tribal affairs agenda is youth suicide and substance use disorder prevention within American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Also, SAMHSA strives to engage federal agencies, national and regional American Indian and Alaska Native organizations, states, and behavioral health providers to collaborate on mitigating the social and economic factors that impede positive behavioral health outcomes.

Mission: To develop, coordinate, and communicate SAMHSA’s policies and resources to improve behavioral health in tribal and village communities.

Vision: American Indian and Alaska Native populations will enjoy a high-quality, self-directed, satisfying life integrated in a community that includes:

  • Health — Overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) as well as living in a physically and emotionally healthy way
  • Home — Living in a stable and safe place that supports recovery
  • Purpose — Participating in meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, as well as the independence, income, and resources to be involved in society
  • Community — Having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope

Work with the SAMHSA Tribal Technical Advisory Committee (TTAC)

SAMHSA established the TTAC in February 2008 to acknowledge and support the federal government-tribal government relationship. The committee is:

  • Comprised of elected or appointed tribal leaders
  • Charged with providing information on the public health needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives, especially identifying urgent substance use and mental health needs, and discussing collaborative approaches to meeting those needs

The SAMHSA TTAC meets at least two times a year. For more information, visit the SAMHSA Tribal Technical Advisory Committee.

Tribal Consultation Activity

SAMHSA participates in:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) annual tribal budget consultation every March and the agency’s regional consultation held January to May

For more information on the HHS tribal consultation policy and process, visit the Intergovernmental and External Affairs website.

Tribal and Training Technical Assistance Center

The Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTA) provides training and technical assistance on mental and substance use disorders, suicide prevention, and the promotion of mental health. The TTA offers broad, focused, and intensive training and technical assistance to federally recognized tribes, other American Indian and Alaska Native communities, SAMHSA tribal grantees, and organizations serving Indian country.

Circles of Care Program (COC)

The COC is a three-year discretionary infrastructure grant program for American Indian and Alaska Native tribes, and tribal organizations (including urban Indian programs and tribal colleges). The COC is housed in the Child, Adolescent, and Family Branch of the SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services. The program’s primary goals include:

  • Planning for the development of a community-based system of care model for children with mental health challenges and their families
  • Developing local capacity and infrastructure to assist tribal communities to obtain funding and resources to implement their model system of care

The grant program allows tribes and tribal organizations to apply without competing for funding with states, counties, or cities. In the current cohort, grantees are allowed to use up to 30% of their funds to pilot a service that is designed to implement the infrastructure changes they develop in their model system of care.

Future COC grant opportunities will depend on the availability of funds. For more information, visit SAMHSA’s grant announcements.

SAMHSA Behavioral Health Resources

Federal Initiatives and Resources

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Secretary

Federal Partners

Additional Resources

Last Updated: 08/06/2019