Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Hosts Mental Health, Opiate Crisis Conference
Leech Lake’s Behavioral Health Services is holding the American Indian Mental Health Advisory Council Conference this week.
21% of American Indians ages 12 and over have an illicit drug use disorder, according to a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This is coupled with a suicide rate of nearly double the rest of the population.
Speakers addressed the various problems facing the community through discussion of addiction and different diagnoses. Health care and public safety professionals attended to hear about these problems and how to treat them.
“One of the things I really wanted to help [attendees] do is really at a high level understand if some people that they’re working with- family members, clients- are on psychiatric medications, how can they support those individuals in making sure they get the care that they need,” said Dr. Joel Oberstar. He discussed these medications and their different uses Thursday.
Arnold Dahl-Wooley spoke at the conference on Wednesday to address concerns of drug use, suicide rates, and homelessness within the LGBT and two-spirit population.
“There is a crisis for the two spirit people that we need to recognize this, we need to address this, we need to have outreach programs, said Dahl-Wooley. “We need to make sure that this is going to be for the youth, the adults, and also the elderly.”
About 100 people attended the conference, which will run through Friday.