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The mental health and access to mental health care among the Sámi in Sweden

Research project The mental health and access to mental health care among the Sámi in Sweden: Which are the main social determinants?

Mental health is a major public health problem among the world’s Indigenous peoples, especially those in the Arctic. There is however scarce information about the mental health and access to mental health care services among the Sámi population in Sweden.

Head of project

Project overview

Project period:

2021-01-01 2024-12-31

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Clinical Sciences, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health, Department of Nursing

Research area

Public health and health care science

External funding

Swedish Research Council

Project description

A recent review about the mental health situation of Sámi revealed that this population can be particularly vulnerable to mental ill-health, and concluded with a call to expand the research on mental health and to include a focus on their social determinants.

The aim of this project is to assess the mental health and mental health care access of the Sámi (reindeer- and non-reindeer herders) in Sweden in the last two decades (2000-2019) and to investigate the social determinants associated to their mental health, and mental health care access.

This proposal addresses the need to update the knowledge regarding the mental health and access to mental health care among the Sámi, including non-reindeer herding Sámi, as well as to investigate the potential social determinants influencing their health and access to health care.

  • It builds on previous research on Sámi´s mental health and broadens it to include a sample of the general Sámi population (whose mental health have not been previously studied) and their access to mental health care.

  • It also provides methodological novelty by creating a population-based survey and register infrastructure for future research on Sámi health.

The updated findings on Sámi mental health and access to mental health care and their social determinants obtained from this project will also allow to identify specific areas of intervention that can serve to develop and implement mental ill-health prevention programs among Sámi.

Furthermore, the research from this proposal will contribute to increase knowledge about Sámi health in Sweden, and it will additionally place it in the international context of research on social determinants of mental health and health care in Sápmi, in the Arctic region and in the context of Indigenous health in high-income countries.


External funding

Latest update: 2021-01-27