Editorial: Suicide awareness and prevention training is time well spent

  • By Peninsula Clarion Editorial
  • Tuesday, January 9, 2018 11:25am
  • Opinion

The numbers continue to be alarming — in 2016, 186 Alaskans took their own lives.

Suicide rates in Alaska continue to be some of the highest in the nation. According to the statewide 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 23 percent of students “seriously considered attempting suicide” during the past 12 months. The survey found that the percentage of students who had “made a plan to attempt suicide” during the past 12 months increased from 14 percent to 21 percent and the percentage of students who “felt sad or hopeless” on a near daily basis increased from 27 percent to 36 percent. Suicide is the leading cause of death among Alaskans ages 10 to 34.

Despite those numbers, suicide remains a difficult, often painful subject to talk about. Later this month, the Kenaitze Indian Tribe will host an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshop. The intensive, two-day course will help participants recognize signs of suicidal thoughts in others and make them more comfortable discussing the issue with those considering suicide, Dagmar Mayer, behavioral health consultant at the Dena’ina Wellness Center, told the Clarion.

We’d like to offer our heartfelt thanks to the Kenaitze Indian Tribe and the staff at the Dena’ina Wellness Center for continuing the community conversation about suicide. The tribe’s suicide prevention program, Yinihugheltani, has made a number of presentations around the Kenai Peninsula over the past few months, and the upcoming workshop, open to the entire community, provides tools that could potentially save a life.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District also recently launched a suicide awareness and prevention program called Sources of Strength. We encourage as many members of our community as possible to learn more about the signs that somebody may be thinking about harming themselves. Just as learning CPR or first aid, it could save a life.

The free ASIST workshop will take place Jan. 17 and 18 at the Dena’ina Wellness Center. For more information or to register call 335-7415 or email dmayer@kenaitze.org.

Anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide should call Alaska’s Careline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

More in Opinion

Former Democratic state Rep. Beth Kerttula holds up a sign reading “Vote No Con Con,” during a recent rally at the Dimond Courthouse Plaza in Juneau. Opposition to a constitutional convention, which could alter the Alaska State Constitution to allow for banning abortions was a frequent topic during the protest. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Alaska Voices: A constitutional convention would be doomed to fail

Principled compromise has given way to the unyielding demands of performative politicians

(Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: We’re at risk of losing our well-crafted constitution

Vote no for a constitutional convention in November.

Christina Whiting.
Point of View: Thanks to the Homer community for efforts to find and honor Duffy Murnane

The Duffy Memorial Bench Dedication was moving and healing.

Sticky notes filled out in response to the question “Why does Democracy and voting matter?” are photographed on Saturday, June 25, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Alex Koplin)
6 words to define democracy

What words would you use?

File
Opinion: The latest gun regulation bill is nothing to cheer about

The legislation resembles the timid movements of a couple of 6-month old children…

The U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington, D.C. in this file photo. (File)
Opinion: The Alaskans with the power to defend America’s democracy

It’s well past time to publicly refute Trump’s lie

File
Opinion: Here’s what I expect of lawmakers in a post-Roe America

I urge lawmakers to codify abortion rights at the state and federal levels.

File
Opinion: Confusion over ranked choice voting persists

Voter confusion over ballot procedures will continue

Most Read