State board to host meetings on substance abuse, mental health

The public is also invited to provide public comment on mental health and substance use impacts.

The Alaska Mental Health Board and Advisory Board on Alcoholism will host public meetings in Kenai Tuesday through Thursday.

The meeting is public and community members will have the chance to learn more about the boards and their statewide efforts, a Sept. 16 press release from the state board said.

There will be presentations on local and statewide efforts related to mental health and substance misuse, including on local behavioral health efforts, substance misuse, trauma and child welfare, public safety, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority updates, Statewide Suicide Prevention Council updates and a local teen panel on suicide prevention efforts.

The public is also invited to provide public comment concerning mental health and substance use impacts on the community.

At 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the Kenai Senior Center, there will be a public comment opportunity and community reception, where the community is welcome to comment, ask questions or express concerns related to mental health and substance use in the community. Comments will be taken in person or by call-in.

On Friday, the boards are hosting a “super advocate” training, which seeks to offer tools for advocating for policy or funding decisions affecting people with mental illness, addiction disorders, developmental disabilities, Alzheimer’s and dementia. The training is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday at Peninsula Community Health Services. Interested residents can register for the free training by emailing advocacy.coordinator@alaska.gov.

The boards were created in statute as a way to provide advice, education, planning and coordination related to Alaska’s public behavioral health system, the release said. The boards also advocate with Alaskans who experience mental health and substance use disorders and their families to ensure that behavioral health services meet their needs.

A full agenda of the meeting can be found at the state’s website, dhss.alaska.gov/amhb/pages/default.aspx. Members of the community who want to comment can do so in person or by calling 1-800-315-6338, code 58920#.

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