Article: A Cultural Approach to Native Hawaiian Mental Health


Mental health disproportionately impacts kānaka across Hawaiʻi, from keiki to kūpuna. It is linked to suicide, substance use, partner violence, homelessness, incarceration, and numerous issues in our community. Right now the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is working through legislation to secure mental health programs and services rooted in Hawaiian culture. Research shows that culturally-based programs are four times more successful in addressing these needs and by connecting our people with their culture, we are supporting Native Hawaiian well-being.

Senate Bill 193: Relating to the Composition of the State Council on Mental Health would require three of the 21 members of the Hawai‘i State Mental Health Council to have demonstrated knowledge or work experience involving Native Hawaiian concepts of well-being, culturally-grounded mental health methodologies, or traditional healing or health practices to better address current mental health needs.

We need your kōkua to make this bill possible. Please take a moment to learn more about SB193, a bill asking for Hawaiian cultural representation on the Hawaiʻi State Mental Health Council. Click the green button to submit email testimony in support of the bill at www.oha.org/legislation.

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