Fairbanks, Alaska September 9 through the 15 is National Suicide Prevention week - and across the state, municipal leaders are adopting this prevention message - including those in the Interior.
According to officials with the Alaska chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, mayors in both Bethel and Anchorage have adopted a suicide prevention proclamation - and with the help of the Fairbanks Wellness Coalition, our mayors in the Fairbanks North Star Borough have signed a similar declaration.
The proclamation was signed by Fairbanks Mayor Jim Matherly, North Pole Mayor Bryce Ward and Borough Mayor Karl Kassel.
Mayor Matherly read the proclamation before the city council at its regular meeting on September 10, “…And whereas suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U-S and the second leading cause death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34…” he said.
Morgan Clay with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention wanted to create this proclamation to show that's it's not just an isolated group that is impacted, as well as emphasizing that it's important to reach out for help.
"Across the board and across the borough, if effects many different people of different ethnic backgrounds and so we really wanted to shed light on the fact that it's not just one population it's all of us,” she said, “You can live a happy, healthy life with a mental health condition and reaching out to somebody is so important."
Clay urges people to be aware of red flags. If someone speaks about feeling hopeless or feels like they are a burden to others or if they show signs of strange behavior like isolating themselves, giving away prized possessions or withdrawing from activities these could be suicide warning signs.
After reading the proclamation, Matherly applauded the efforts of Clay and her group.
If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety or depression or may have thoughts of suicide, representatives are available 24 hours a day at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255.
To find a behavioral health provider visit https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/ or http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/
Teens can text a Suicide crisis line at 741-741
Visiting your primary care provider, one of the many Fairbanks psychiatric clinics, and urgent care center or walk-in clinic may all be able to provide further resources.