THPS/Behavioral Health and Substance Use


Balance and harmony are core beliefs for Native Americans when it comes to health and wellness. This teaching is presented by many Native cultures through the medicine wheel, which highlights the importance of interconnectedness by balancing emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical health. Different Tribal Nations have different medicine wheel teachings according to their values, stories, songs, and beliefs.

To address the wide array of behavioral and public health needs of our member Tribal Nations, THPS (Tribal Health Program Support) incorporates the principles of the medicine wheel into our programs, functions, services, and activities. The medicine wheel’s comprehensive approach to health helps us to develop programmatic activities from a place of strength, resiliency, and empowerment. We develop events, webinars, activities, and programs to improve behavioral health while ensuring that emotional, social, and physical elements are incorporated.

Upcoming Events

The Medicine Wheel

The medicine wheel highlights the importance of interconnectedness by balancing emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical health. Different Tribal Nations have different medicine wheel teachings according to their values, stories, songs, and beliefs. One thing all Tribal Nations agree upon is that all sections need to be in balance for a healthy wellbeing. Behavioral and public health issues can often be seen as an imbalance in one or more areas of those elements, which leads to an overall imbalance.

USET's Behavioral Health incorporates all elements of the medicine wheel in our partnerships with our member Tribal Nations. We accomplish this through the various activities, events, webinars, and programming that are specifically curated for each of our member Tribal Nations. The medicine wheel’s strength-based approach allows us to develop programmatic activities in a comprehensive and inclusive manner.

Incorporating the concepts and traditions of the medicine wheel into everything we do is our top priority.

Opioid and Substance Use: In response to the opioid epidemic in Indian Country, we developed a multi-disciplinary Opioid Task Force to collaboratively address the misuse of opioids and other substances within Indian Country. This cross-sector collaborative includes representatives from the health, education, justice, and social service sectors, federal and non-federal partners, and USET member Tribal Nations. This group meets quarterly to develop and promote appropriate universal standards to address the opioid crisis. It also strives to share resources and best practices aimed at improving the health and well-being of Tribal Nations. Additional activities related to opioid and substance use include:

  • Working to Improve Purchased/Referred Care Data: We work with Purchased/Referred Care (PRC) sites to conduct data flow analyses to improve the quality and availability of opioid data. This work helps to identify data gaps that are specific to each Tribal Nation. Part of this process includes collaborating with the Tribal Nation and other key stakeholders to develop and implement a strategic plan for improving opioid overdose data.
  • Tribal Nation Opioid Prevention Programming: We work with USET member Tribal Nations to develop community surveys and needs assessments to inform strategic planning and prevention programming. Program recommendations consider the specific needs of each Tribal Nation and follow a holistic approach. We provide evaluation support to all participating Tribal Nations for their public health programming.
  • Training and Sharing Resources: We provide a number of webinars and trainings hosted on an organization and community level to share best practices and successful opioid prevention programming. These include trainings on streamlining PRC data flow and the use of Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP), a real-time overdose detection mapping tool.

Behavioral Health Videos

Domestic Violence

We can work together to break the cycle of abuse and find healthy ways to cope with trauma. The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous domestic, dating, and sexual violence helpline for Native Americans. Call, text, or chat to access their free services including crisis intervention, safety planning, and referrals to Native-centered service providers. Get help, learn how to identify abuse, or browse a number of other informative resources. Call StrongHearts at 1-844-762-8483 or visit

Suicide Prevention

We can all help prevent suicide. Reaching out is often the first step to help ourselves or those we care about find their circle of healing. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential 24/7 support to guide you or your loved ones towards healing. Over 2 million people called in 2020 to talk to someone who cares. No matter what problems you’re dealing with, whether or not you’re thinking about suicide, if you need someone to lean on for emotional support, or are worried about a loved one, reach out at 1-800-273-8255 or visit

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) are traumatic events that occur in early childhood, such as abuse, domestic violence, and exposure to substance misuse. These traumatic events can affect brain development and are linked to chronic illness, stress, and substance misuse in adulthood. Together, we can break the cycle of trauma for the next generations. Contact StrongHearts Native Helpline at 1-844-762-8483  or visit online at to find resources for healing from trauma, peer support, and more information on ACES.

Intimate Partner Violence

Being in a toxic and abusive relationship can feel like you are trapped, but there are resources available to help break the cycle and heal from the trauma. StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential service that provides information on domestic violence, as well as referrals to Native-centered domestic violence providers. Whether you need resources or just need someone to talk to, StrongHearts is there to help. Contact them at 1-844-762-8483 or chat online at