Tribe wants contract with IHS to run mental health


The Navajo Nation has taken the first step toward establishing its own addiction rehabilitation centers by asking the Indian Health Service to extend its Title I contract to include mental health.

Both President Russell Begaye’s spokesman, Mihio Manus, and IHS Public Affairs Liaison Genevieve Notah confirmed that the tribe sent a letter of intent to the Navajo Area IHS asking for the right to control its own mental health program several months ago.

In anticipation of the contract, Navajo Behavioral Health Services has become Navajo Behavioral and Mental Health Services. Although the distinction is sometimes fuzzy, behavioral health is usually defined as helping people avoid negative behaviors such as drinking too much or physically expressing anger, while mental health includes treating mental illnesses such as depression or schizophrenia, according to “Psychology Today.”

To run a full-service addiction treatment center, the nation would have to supply both kinds of services.

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Categories: News

About Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at