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M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust Invests in Mental Health Services to Support Alaskans


Set Free Alaska

 A counseling session at Set Free Alaska.

PALMER, AK—Set Free Alaska is the latest organization to receive funding from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust to address substance abuse and mental illness in Alaska. Since 2010, the private foundation has provided more than $1.8 million in funding for mental health services across the state of Alaska, including a $350,000 grant in May of 2018 to help build a new Set Free Alaska facility that will double the number of Alaskans who can access treatment.

“Alaska, like many states, is facing an epidemic of substance abuse and addiction that can have a ripple effect of negative consequences across communities, including  depression, violence and broken families,” said Steve Moore, executive director of the Murdock Trust. “This new facility will provide much needed access to essential mental health and treatment services to help serve those in need, and their families.”

Set Free Alaska provides intensive inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment for adults and teens. In 2017, the organization provided services to more than 650 people, a 65 percent increase from 2016. They have maxed out their current space and regularly have long waitlists for their services.

“Unfortunately, the need for our services continues to grow,” said Joy Stein, interim executive director of Set Free Alaska. “The need for space is so great that we have even converted a closet under the stairs into an office.”

The $350,000 grant from the Murdock Trust will help Set Free Alaska remodel and expand into a new building with a capacity to serve more than 1,000 outpatient clients annually, including substance abuse treatment and children’s behavioral health services. At a total cost of $2.6 million, the building will also provide much needed space for counselors and administrative services.

In addition to outpatient treatment services, Set Free Alaska also provides behavioral health programs for children ages 5-17, and a residential treatment center for women, including pregnant women and women with children.

“Over the years, our programs have grown exponentially to meet the demand,” said Stein. “Partners like the Murdock Trust make this new building possible and, ultimately, will reduce the waitlist for clients eager to get help.”

Now in it’s 43rd year, the Trust has recently invested in several other organizations in Alaska to address mental health needs, including more than $800,000 to the Southcentral Foundation, more than $330,000 to Denali Family Services, and more than $500,000 to Set Free Alaska. The Murdock Trust has also invested heavily in programs supporting the arts, education and scientific research across the state.

“As we look to the future, we remain committed to supporting the health and flourishing of families and communities throughout Alaska and we are privileged to partner with numerous corporate foundations and donors across the state in this endeavor,” said Moore.


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