Connection is the Solution

Employees of SCF’s Benteh Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center take a wellness walk around campus to refresh mentally.

Ask your friends and family if they are okay. Connection is the solution. Relating to those who are suicidal and helping them through the challenges they are facing is crucial to supporting loved ones through crisis. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, speak out and connect with those around you; don’t carry the weight alone. Mental health is part of overall wellness.

Cultural connectedness and being in nature while participating in activities like hunting, fishing, and gathering can help with depression and anxiety. Sharing these traditional activities with loved ones is a great way to increase and maintain mental health. Connecting to culture through activities and traditions builds relationships with others that can lead to better resiliency. By engaging in positive and healthy activities, we can encourage others to be more aware of their mental health.

The statistics on suicide can be disheartening but heighten the need for positive interventions and building connections with each other to fight against suicide. Between 2005 and 2014, Alaska had an average of more than 152 deaths from suicide each year — one of the highest rates in the nation.

September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month — an opportunity to strengthen the fight against suicide and raise awareness on how we can help ourselves and those we love.

Southcentral Foundation is committed to providing a comprehensive approach to fighting occurrences of suicide and meeting the needs of customer-owners. Programs and trainings like Denaa Yeets’, Beauty for Ashes, and learning circles can be accessed through the SCF website or by talking to your primary care provider.

Denaa Yeets’ is a program designed to provide specialized support to Alaska Native and American Indian adults who are at risk for suicide. Athabascan for Our Breath of Life, the name Denaa Yeets’ expresses the program’s primary purpose of helping participants develop an increased sense of self-worth, cultural identity, and desire to live. Learning circles are opportunities for people to connect and build relationships through a variety of wellness activities. They are a core part of upholding Southcentral Foundation’s mission of working together with the Native Community to achieve physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Learning circles bring small groups of people with similar needs together to talk, share story, and learn from each other.

SCF also offers an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (A.S.I.S.T) to teach people how to respond with knowledge and competency to those who are at risk of suicide. Participants learn and practice skills in identifying and responding to people with an immediate risk of suicide. Just as CPR skills make saving someone’s life from a physical crisis possible, training in suicide intervention make saving someone’s life from a mental health crisis possible.

If you or someone you know is at risk for suicide, please find help by utilizing the many available suicide prevention resources.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-272-8255
Alaska Suicide Prevention Resource Center: (907) 465-8536
Careline – Alaska Suicide Prevention and Someone-to-Talk to Line: 1-877-266-HELP (4357)

by Jake Johnson

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