For the population that has borne the brunt of COVID-19--Indigenous Peoples--Indian Health Services (IHS) this month announced a $46.4 million investment into behavioral health programming across Indian Country.

“These funding opportunities are critical for our efforts to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level,” IHS Acting Director Elizabeth Fowler said in a statement. “The funding we are announcing today addresses some of the most important issues affecting Native people across Indian Country, especially as the pandemic has had such an impact on behavioral health.”

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Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, preexisting health conditions among Native Americans and Alaska Natives have made them more susceptible to COVID-19, and the outcomes more severe than their white counterparts, according to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Persisting racial inequity and historical trauma have contributed to disparities in health and socioeconomic factors between [American Indian and Alaska Natives] and white populations that have adversely affected tribal communities,” the agency wrote in August 2020.

In response, IHS is funding ​​$46.4 million towards tribal behavioral health programs aimed at domestic and sexual violence prevention, substance misuse, and suicide prevention. Tribal organizations working within those fields can apply for a portion of the funding.

For more information on each funding category and how to apply, review IHS’ announcement and click on the hyperlinked categories.

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