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September 10th – 16th is National Suicide Prevention Week

September 12, 2017

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Healthy Alaskans 2020, a joint project of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, works with local and statewide partners to raise awareness and prevention around suicide across the state. Many of us know or have a connection to someone who has been lost to suicide. Alaska has the second-highest suicide rate in the United States. National Suicide Prevention Week is an annual observance held to provide information on the risks and warning signs of suicide, to let people know that we care, and to reduce the stigma associated with talking openly about suicide.

The HA2020 Targets are to reduce the rate of suicide deaths to:

  • 2 per 100,000 population among 15-24 year olds and to
  • 5 per 100,000 suicide deaths among people ages 25 and older.


2015 data indicates that the HA2020 targets for suicide are not on track for both our Alaska Native population and among all Alaskans.

Suicide is the leading cause of death among Alaska Native people ages 15-24. In 2015, the suicide rates for Alaska Native people ages 15-24 was nearly 2 3/4 times higher (151.8 percent) than the general population of Alaska in the same age group and nearly double (46.8 percent) for Alaska Native people ages 25 and older.

For more detailed trend data on individual indicators, go to

What Is Being Done?
The Statewide Suicide Prevention Council advises the governor and legislature on issues relating to suicide. In collaboration with communities, faith-based organizations, and public, private and Tribal entities, the council works to improve the health and wellness of Alaskans by reducing suicide and its effect on individuals and communities.

What Can You Do?

Share the Warning Signs of Suicidal Behavior
These signs may mean that someone is at risk for suicide. Risk is greater if the behavior is new, or has increased, and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change:

  • Has previously attempted suicide
  • Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself or has a plan
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Saying goodbye and giving away prized possessions


Participate in Awareness Activities and Trainings:

September 10-16, 2017 – Suicide Prevention Week

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Alaska Community Events

Fairbanks North Star Borough and Ft. Wainwright Events


ANTHC’s Suicide Prevention Program is providing a number of suicide prevention and intervention safeTALK trainings and QPR (Questions, Persuade, Refer) trainings. Various dates and times of trainings will be available throughout the month of September. Click here for more information. If you are unable to attend these trainings you can visit the ASIST and safeTALK sites for a list of training opportunities in your area.

Denaa Yeets’ Our Breath of Life Fair – Take a minute, save a life.
Sept. 11-15, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. daily. Anchorage Native Primary Care Center lobby, 4320 Diplomacy Drive. This event brings attention to suicide prevention through activities focused on expanding resiliency awareness and education regarding suicide prevention, and exploring the services available in the Native Community. For more details, contact Denaa Yeets’ (907) 729-5260.

Free Equine Assisted Psychotherapy:
Caregiving from the Corral is offering a free, five-week equine therapy program to support the healing process after a suicide attempt or for those currently experiencing suicide ideation. This program is run by Integrative Wellness Solutions and AURORA Equine Therapy and is for young adults ages 14-19. Sessions begin Sept. 30 in Wasilla. For more information call (907) 355-1083.


Documentary: The national broadcast premiere of the documentary We Breathe Again on the WORLD Channel.

Free Streaming: Sept. 27 through Dec. 25 at



Suicide – one of the leading causes of death for Alaska Native people affects many families, who lose brothers, sisters, parents, and children to it. This film introduces four Alaska Native people who are trying to break free from histories of trauma and suicide, creating a new, more positive trail for their communities; and is an intimate, authentic portrait of people working to break a cycle of trauma and rebuild their communities’ strength and resilience.


National Broadcast Premiere

Specific broadcast for Fairbanks: Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. AKDT on KUAC World 9.2


Visit the HA2020 website to learn more about the Healthy Alaskans Initiative and each of the LHIs and what strategies are currently in place to reduce the suicide rates in our State.


Resources and Call Centers:
Alaska CARELINE: 1-877-266-4357(HELP) or text 4help to 839863 from 3-11 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Veteran’s Crisis Line: or Call 1-800-273-8255 Press 1 or text 838255 for help 24/7


Additional Resources:

Alaska DHSS, Division of Behavioral Health

Alaska Vital Statistics 2015 Annual Report

Alaska DHSS, Statewide Suicide Prevention Council

Alaska Community Mental Health Centers

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s Behavioral Health Program and Suicide Prevention Program

Indian Health Services Suicide Prevention and Care Program

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Alaska Chapter

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Alaska VA Healthcare System

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

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