Tribal Behavioral Health
Pulling Together for Wellness > Tribal Behavioral Health

Our way of knowing tells us people are whole beings. Health and wellness are determined by a person’s mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional aspects being balanced, often centered around cultural ways. This is the framework we use for supporting services and systems to improve behavioral health. Core principles of our work include access to culturally appropriate services and supporting Tribal Sovereignty through legal and operational means.

Indian Health Care Providers (IHCPs) possess the culturally relevant knowledge and expertise to address and enhance the well-being of community members. These projects strengthen Tribal sovereignty by exercising the Tribe’s inherent power to protect the health and safety of their members.

IHCPs intend to rectify a history of disregard for Tribal Members in the state behavioral health system: exclusion from care, limited access to care, and the intergenerational damages from historical trauma that communities have endured. Efforts over many decades have culminated in major updates in the last few years. Tribal leaders, program staff, Native elders, and community members have been engaged in these efforts.

AIHC Behavioral Health Work

Developed as a statewide board to oversee the implementation and operation of Tribally operated inpatient behavioral health facilities across Washington State, the Tribal Centric Behavioral Health Advisory Board has also expanded to provide oversight in strategic areas such as integration and crisis response systems.

The Tribal Behavioral Health Integration Toolbox provides guidance and inspiration on how to integrate behavioral health with primary care and other health care services.

AIHC supports Tribes and Urban Indian Health Organizations as they define and expand behavioral health services, including Behavioral Health Crisis Response Services such as, Tribal Designated Crisis Responders, Tribal Behavioral Health Codes, crisis coordination protocols, and more.

Started in 2019, the Tribal Opioid Response Workgroup engages Tribal Leaders, Urban Indian Health Leaders, their staff and Indian Health Care Providers (IHCP) in developing goals, objectives and strategies to address the opioid crisis in Indian Country. The workgroup will be starting up again in spring 2022.

Projects have included policy changes, EHR workshops, integration projects, training and state plan amendments and waivers. To learn about Medicaid Transformation Projects, click here.

Important Partners

Volunteers of America Western Washington provides support and structure for the Washington Indian Behavioral Health Hub, a statewide service to assist Tribes and Indian Health Care Providers access behavioral health services.

Tribal Behavioral Health Aides, two-year specialty professionals, are an important part of the expanding and culturally relevant system. The TCHPP oversees the Behavioral Health Aide Program and supports certification.

Additional Resources

A compilation of resources gathered during the COVID pandemic response, including telehealth, policy templates, and tools.

This folder includes the 2013 Report on Tribal Centric Behavioral Health and Joel’s Law petition guide.

This folder contains materials from the 2017 Behavioral Health Conference.

This folder contains policy changes supported by AIHC including letters to state agencies, drafts of the Tribal Centric Health Plan and IHCP licensure.

We are resilient. Our Ways Are Resilient.