Locals groups tackle mental health issues in Rapid City and tribal communities

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Mental Health issues in our community: that's what some local groups are trying to tackle.

Black Hills FOX Reporter Katrina Lim takes us to Rapid City Collective Impact's first ever "Native American Behavioral Health Summit."

Behavioral health specialists gathered at the First Interstate Bank to address the behavioral health, mental health, and addiction needs in Rapid City and tribal communities.

Most of these groups work directly with the Native American community both on and off the reservations.

Freedom Lodge Executive Director Dr. Ruby Gibson believes part of the issues with mental health involve social shaming.

Dr. Ruby Gibson says, "I really believe that a lot of it has to do with social shaming because even if you watch TV, the Native American community is spoken about a lot in a derogatory way as far as their behaviors and being homeless and being a burden on the community."

Rapid City local Richie Richards says sometimes there's a stigma behind getting help for mental health issues.

Richie Richards says, "I think there is a stigma behind mental health issues within our tribal members. There's also certain levels of stereotypical behavior that's exuded upon those that have mental health or addiction issues in our community."

Richards and Dr. Gibson believe part of the solution begins with how we view each other.

Richie Richards says, "We don't want to criminalize their behavior. We don't want them to be looked at as criminalistic. We do really see the needs of our homeless population and we want to address that."

Dr. Ruby Gibson says, "And we see ourselves and what's being reported. We don't feel valued very much by that so I think a lot of it begins with the community and creating a social environment that equalizes that problem."

During the summit, specialists talked about prevention and how to treat certain behaviors.

These behavioral health groups are scheduled to meet again on March 1st to talk about similar health issues.

Katrina Lim, Black Hills FOX News.