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Legislature OKs Expanding Statewide Suicide Prevention Council

Fairclough’s HB 21 also clarifies membership requirements & make-up

Saturday, April 14, 2012, Juneau, Alaska – The 27th Alaska State Legislature today with a unanimous vote from the Senate passed a bill adding a member to the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council, and expanding the age requirement of the youth member on the council.

Rep. Anna Fairclough’s House Bill 21 expands the council from 16 to 17 members, adding an individual who works, or has previously worked, in the armed services on issues relating to mental health. It also changes the youth member standard from someone enrolled in high school to someone between the ages of 16 to 24.

“Expanding the age of the youth member will allow for greater continuity and experience in allowing them to serve after graduating from high school into their post-secondary years,” Fairclough, R-Eagle River said. “With suicide in our military community on the rise, having a member on the Council who has firsthand experience interacting with our service members will bring a much needed perspective to the table. These brave men and women have experienced unimaginable things that have lasting impacts when they return home to Alaska and we must do all we can to combat this epidemic.”

HB 21 passed the House unanimously in Feb. 2011 and will now be transmitted to the governor for signature. It would take effect 90 days after it’s signed into law.

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