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Senate Passes Bill Extending Statewide Suicide Prevention Council

Council promotes awareness, enhances prevention efforts, creates plan of action, and achieves partnerships

JUNEAU-Today, the Senate passed Senate Bill 37, sponsored by Senator Anna Fairclough, R-East Anchorage/Eagle River, which extends the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council until at least 2019.   The 17-member council advises legislators and the Governor on improving public awareness of suicide and risk factors, enhancing suicide prevention efforts, creating a statewide suicide prevention plan and putting it into action, as well as building and strengthening public and private partnerships to prevent suicide.

“For many years, Alaska has had the unfortunate distinction of being number one in the nation for suicide.  It plagues both rural and urban areas,” said Senator Fairclough, who is also a member of the council.  “This council has worked hard to stop those heartbreaking numbers by using a comprehensive approach to develop healthy communities while developing a statewide plan for suicide prevention.  If we don’t extend the council, this critical work can’t continue.”

Casting the Net Upstream is a five year plan created by the council which has specific measures to determine if the state suicide prevention system is effective – or to allow for further development if the expected results are not achieved. It is based on extensive public input and stakeholder efforts to create a suicide prevention plan that responds to the unique needs of Alaskan communities and benefits from the creativity and culture of Alaska’s people.

“Thanks to this plan, the council and its partners will be able to offer annual reports highlighting the successes of evidence-based suicide prevention programs as well as emerging and innovative prevention efforts,” said Senator Fairclough.  “I will be interested to see those results as they come in over the next few years and how they can guide us to better suicide prevention efforts.”

To get more information on Casting the Net Upstream, please click here.

“Suicide rips apart Alaskan families and leaves years of devastation behind.  But with the right treatment and outreach, we can slow down this horrible epidemic in Alaska,” said Senator Fairclough.  “Senate Bill 37 is just one step in the right direction and I will continue to fight for suicide awareness and prevention on several levels.”

To visit the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council’s website, please click here.

Senate Bill 37 now heads to the House for further consideration.

For more information, please contact Laura Pierre in Senator Fairclough’s office at 907-465-3777.

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