Behavioral health meeting focuses on data to prevent suicides

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Fairbanks Wellness Coalition held a town hall meeting Thursday to discuss the status of behavioral health providers in the Interior.
Fairbanks residents and health professionals gathered in the Noel Wien Library auditorium to go over the results of the borough Health Services Assessment, which gathered data to meet the objectives of Coalition's plan to help combat suicide.
The assessment is intended to serve as the basis for a long-term action plan to address how to fill service gaps.
According to the borough, there was low participation in the survey from local health care providers; neither Fairbanks Memorial Hospital nor the military opted to contribute to the survey at all.
Meeting attendee, Brenda Sperl Riley, says having better data can help fill in the gaps between patient and provider.
Brenda Sperl Riley; Attendee>>: "I've got my personal anecdote, as some of you guys know here. I also have a friend who's got a 17 year old who's having to do telehealth from Anchorage at like $300 a session, because there's nobody here who she can get him into for adolescent mental health care. And that is just a travesty, and those are the people we are probably not hearing from, because they're going through TVC, so you're not hearing that frustration, that lack of service, that gap that is not reflected in this well done survey that is very targeted. But it is those stories and that community frustration that makes the change happen."