Updated state suicide prevention plan encourages Alaskans to help build resilience

The Statewide Suicide Prevention Council today (Feb. 1st, 2018) released its updated five-year State Suicide Prevention Plan. The action plan stresses that all Alaskans play a role in building resilient individuals and resilient communities.
“We’ve seen tremendous progress in public understanding that people can support mental health like they can physical health, and mental illnesses such as depression and substance misuse disorder are chronic conditions that should be managed like heart disease and diabetes,” said Council Chairperson Sharon Fishel. “We’re excited to build on the progress we’ve made with help from community partners like You Are Not Alone clubs in high schools.”
“Recasting the Net: Promoting Wellness to Prevent Suicide in Alaska 2018-2022” builds on the 2012-2017 state plan, with a wealth of information and resources and the same six goals:
•Alaskans accept responsibility for preventing suicide.
•Alaskans prevent and mitigate the impact of trauma, substance abuse, and other risk factors contributing to suicide.
•Alaskans communicate, cooperate, and coordinate suicide prevention efforts.
•Alaskans have immediate access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services they need.
•Alaskans support survivors in healing.
•Quality data and research is available and used for planning, implementation, and evaluation of suicide prevention efforts.
Each goal lists strategies that individuals, communities, and the state can use to promote wellness and reduce suicide risk.
Strategies include: Individual Alaskans learn about risk factors through classes like Mental Health First Aid, support youth by volunteering as coaches and tutors, and be informal role models by practicing healthy lifestyles; communities host conversations and share information about suicide prevention; and the State of Alaska enhances peer-to-peer support programs and builds awareness of Careline, Alaska’s statewide suicide prevention and someone-to-talk-to line: 877-266-4357 (HELP).
The Council is statutorily obligated to release a five-year plan. The Council revised the previous state plan through several public meetings and two 30-day public comment periods in 2017.
“We invite all Alaskans to review the plan and choose a step to take this year to help build resilience in their lives, their families, their communities,” said Council Executive Director Alison Kulas. The plan is at www.dhss.alaska.gov/suicideprevention.
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 entities, the Council works to improve the health and wellness of Alaskans by reducing suicide and its effect on individuals and communities.