Utah Navajo group holds conference to help men discuss mental health

Jun 28, 2023, 1:15 PM

MOAB, Utah — Indigenous men face unique mental health challenges. This week, they’re invited to open up about their struggles at a conference in Moab.

It will be the second year Pete Sands with the Utah Navajo Health System has organized this first-of-its-kind conference. He said the focus this year will be on young adult men and their roles as fathers.

“The feedback I got last year, the young men that came to the conference, about 70% of them were from single mother homes. They wanted to hear from another man, how to express yourself healthily, not just lash out.”

Sands felt it would be beneficial to showcase speakers from different backgrounds who have similar stories.

The lineup includes:

  • Navajo Nation President Dr. Buu Nygren
  • Actor Raoul Trujjillo
  • Professional bullrider Keyshawn Whitehorse
  • Country singer Mark Wystrach
  • Zachariah Ben, founder of Bidnii Baby Foods
  • Gary Mike, father of Ashlynne Mike, who was kidnapped and murdered in New Mexico

It’s important indigenous men know they’re not alone and can speak up to keep their mental health in check.

“They’re stuck between traditional and outside world. A lot of the questions I get is: if I learn my culture, what good is it to me outside of our world?” Sands said.

The free event is happening in Moab at the Hoodoo Hotel and Resort on Thursday, June 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

You can attend in person, but you need to register.

The conference will also be streamed live on YouTube.

Sands said women are invited to come out as well to get a better understanding as to what these men are going through.

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Utah Navajo group holds conference to help men discuss mental health