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House OKs Expanding Statewide Suicide Prevention Council (Fairclough's HB21)

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

Monday, Feb. 14, 2011, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska State House today unanimously 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, R-Eagle River, House Bill 21 expands the Council from 16 to 17 members, adding an individual who works, or has previously worked, with 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.

“Suicide among our military is, sadly, on the rise. The council feels it is important to add a member who has worked in our military community and understands their needs and lifestyle. We also feel it is important to have continuity on the council with our youth member. Before, just as this young individual was really starting to dig in and feel comfortable and understand the issues the council was dealing with, they had to resign because they graduated from high school. Now the youth member can continue to serve beyond their high school years,” Fairclough said. “The Council is extremely important to combating the epidemic that’s affecting all areas of the state. Hopefully these changes will improve the discussion of the council and help move forward a strategic plan that will benefit rural and urban Alaska.”

HB 21 passed by a vote of 37 to zero and now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.

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