In treating Indian American populations with SMI, are there any unique factors that must be considered?

In 2019 the Indian Health Services offered a series of free webinars on serious mental illness. You can access them via the links below. Overall the guiding principles and best practices for SMI care remain the same for all patients, including those who are Indian American. Like all care for all patients, attention to cultural, regional, personal, and spiritual values is important. Below is a summary or some aspects to consider based on the webinars.

  • Diagnosis and assessment for SMI should follow national guidelines and standards as with any other patient.
  • Clozapine remains a useful treatment for some patients with SMI and there are no contraindications in Indian American patients. For more details on clozapine and as mentioned in the webinar, you can also visit the SMI Adviser Clozapine Center of Excellence.
  • Injectable antipsychotics are another valid treatment option with no contraindications in Indian American patients. The presenters noted they are often underutilized and this is included also in Indian American communities. You can also learn more about these at the SMI Adviser Long-acting Injectables (LAI) Center of Excellence.
  • Likewise, other psychopathological treatments are valid and can be useful in the Indian American population as well as all others.
  • For bipolar disorder, the same treatment options and guidelines are also valid. You can learn more about bipolar disorder by visiting SMI Adviser’s Knowledge Base.

IHS Behavioral Health Psychopharmacology Webinar Series:

  1. Psychopharmacological Treatment of Bipolar Disorder
  2. Psychopharmacological Treatment of Schizophrenia

IHS Improving Clinical Skills Webinar Series:

  1. Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and Injectable Antipsychotics 
  2. SMI and Clozapine

You can also find more resources online at The National American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network. Access more webinars from the Indian Health Services (IHS) TeleBehavioral Health Center of Excellence (TBHCE).

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