Tribal citizens in Southeast Alaska who are experiencing addiction have access to a new, free online treatment. It’s called Culture Heals, and it’s offered by the new mental health program at the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska.
Dr. Tina Woods leads the Council’s Community and Behavioral Health Services team. She says the goal is to remove barriers for people seeking information or care.
“Half the battle with behavioral health is being able to choose the right words to describe how you feel, to describe what you need,” she said. “Culture Heals Addiction is a platform that will allow people, with resources all in one place, to learn about something that they might be struggling with.”
She says the Culture Heals tool addresses issues that underlie addiction, like generational or childhood trauma.
William Andrews joined Dr. Woods’ team last year and will lead men’s healing groups. He says he got involved after therapy with the tribe helped him through the pandemic. He says that was the only therapy he could access because other local resources were unavailable.
“I think this is one of the most important things that we’re doing, as far as taking leadership in our community, is to help meet unmet needs that not just our citizens, but our community, has,” he said.
Culture Heals is available online and is mobile-friendly. It has links to information, culturally relevant videos and an emergency hotline.