ANCHORAGE – Governor Bill Walker today announced four new appointments to the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council. Recommendations from the council on how to reduce suicide, and its effect on individuals, families, and communities are provided annually to the Governor and state legislature. Suicide prevention is a top priority of the Walker-Mallott Administration.
“Nothing hurts more than hearing about a young person who has taken his or her life,” Governor Walker said. “Each loss tears a chunk out of the soul of our communities. For far too long, Alaska has struggled with the epidemic of suicide. I am pleased that each member of the council has demonstrated commitment to stop this heartbreaking trend.”
Andrew Lessig of Eagle River was appointed to the council’s youth (16-24 years old) seat for the term that began October 26 and ends October 1, 2019. Mr. Lessig is a legal extern for the Alaska Office of Administrative Hearings. He obtained his juris doctor from the Syracuse University College of Law in 2016.
Julie Vincek of Anchorage was appointed to the council’s secondary school employee seat for the term that began November 1 and ends November 1, 2020. Ms. Vincek is a crisis counselor, prevention specialist, and on-the-job training coordinator for the Anchorage School District.
Linda Sheridan of North Pole was reappointed to the council’s military seat for a term that began November 1and ends November 1, 2020. Ms. Sheridan is the clinical supervisor of outpatient services for the Tanana Chiefs Conference and former manager of the Army Suicide Prevention Program.
Barbara Franks of Anchorage was reappointed to the council’s suicide survivor seat for the term that began November 1 and ends November 1, 2020. Ms. Franks retired from the Alaska Native Health Consortium and now spends time volunteering at Alaska Native Medical Center.
The Statewide Suicide Prevention Council was created in 2005 and presents its findings in a report to the Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House by March 1 of each year. More information on the Council is available at http://dhss.alaska.gov/SuicidePrevention/Pages/default.aspx.