WHEREAS, protecting the health and wellness of Alaskans is key to ensuring a stronger future for our families and communities; and
WHEREAS, suicide is the most tragic consequence of mental and emotional illness and distress, and is one of the top ten causes of death in our State – occurring in Alaska at a rate twice the national average; and
WHEREAS, Alaska has high rates of many risk factors for suicide, which include a previous suicide attempt, substance abuse, feelings of hopelessness or isolation, access to lethal means, physical or sexual abuse, history of mental health disorders such as clinical depression, lack of access to mental health treatment services, chronic pain or serious physical illness, or incarceration; and
WHEREAS, it is paramount that all Alaskans be vigilant for these signs and take action if they are concerned about a friend, family member, or loved one because individuals of all ages are at risk for suicide; and
WHEREAS, mental illness and suicide may often be stigmatized, discouraging those at-risk from seeking the help they desperately need, every individual should be treated with respect and compassion; and
WHEREAS, the State of Alaska is actively working to ensure agencies and personnel are adequately equipped to offer relief and support to those in-need through The Alaska Statewide Suicide Prevention Council, which provides outreach and education, and the Alaska Division of Behavioral Health’s Community-Based Suicide Prevention Program, which supports communities in promoting resilience and training Alaskans in basic prevention techniques; and
WHEREAS, if you think someone needs help, the right thing to do is to ASK: Ask if they are thinking about ending their life; Share that you care; Keep them company until you connect them with Careline Alaska, other suicide prevention resources, or someone they trust.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim September 10 – 16, 2023 as:
Suicide Prevention Week
in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to take this opportunity to speak up if they know someone who may be contemplating suicide or to seek help if they are in need, and to reinforce their commitment to community, family, and life.
Dated: September 10, 2023