Prevention and Support for Navajo Youth and Elders

Sep 2019 09

Window Rock, Ariz, – Every year during the fair and parade season, the Division of Behavioral & Mental Health Services (DBMHS) sets up shop to outreach and provide information at the Kids and Seniors Days. DBMHS had set up booths and gave out fun promotional items and also built floats for the Navajo Nation, Northern Navajo, and the Western Navajo parades.

DBMHS is fostering health and harmony in native communities by providing comprehensive, integrated and culturally appropriate behavioral and mental health services. It is important to reach native youth at a young age to promote prevention and educate them on how they can face and overcome challenges. DBMHS also wants to celebrate native youth all those involved in their development.

“We’re bringing awareness about all our programs, reaching out to the youth, showcasing what we do, how we can promote and prevent all the different issues that kids kids go through,” explained prevention specialist, Karina Watson. “We also want to celebrate them for their academic achievements and show appreciation to teachers and bus drivers.”

“It’s really important for DBMHS to connect with the youth because that’s where prevention starts,” she continued. “When you look at the spectrum prevention is the very first thing that we do here, especially for kids. We try to talk about the issues, we try to reach them in the school’s after school programs and activities that go on in the communities, plus the stuff out we put on to talk about prevention.”

The Navajo Nation Fair also celebrates Seniors Day simultaneously with Kids Day to honor and appreciate Navajo elders who have contributed to the nation over many years and continue to be a wealth of wisdom for the Navajo people. DBMHS wants to support navajo elders by offering clinical counseling from both traditional and faith-based perspectives.

“We decided to participate in the Seniors Day event because it’s very important that our elder know about our services,” explained prevention specialist, Alberta Curley. “Some of them or their peers might be struggling with addiction or depression and might not know where they can reach out to. Our program is very unique because of our clinical Services and counseling, we also have traditional and faith-based services and counselors.”

“Also we can point them in the right direction with other services from other programs whom might be better fit or are in their area,” she continued. “Many of the elders come in for grief counseling because they lost a loved one. They look for those traditional services or sometimes they just want someone to listen and laugh with them.”

For more information about the Division of Behavioral & Mental Health Services or to make an appointment, call (928) 871-6240/6235.