Suicide Prevention Week
Effective Date: Sunday, September 9th, 2012
WHEREAS, our people are the State of Alaska’s greatest resource and highest priority. Protecting the health and wellness of Alaskans is key to ensuring a stronger future for our families and communities; and
WHEREAS, suicide is the most tragic consequence of mental and emotional illness and distress. Occurring in Alaska at a rate twice the national average, it is one of the top ten causes of death in our state, and is always preventable; and
WHEREAS, suicide impacts rural and urban areas alike. Suicide occurs at the highest rate per capita in rural areas, where a single death can impact an entire community, but most frequently in cities, showing that it is an epidemic across Alaska; and
WHEREAS, the greatest number of suicides occur among 15-24 year old Alaskans. Surveys show that up to 21 percent of high school students reported considering suicide in 2010, with up to 13 percent carrying out an attempt. Tragically, the elderly are also highly susceptible to suicide because of depression stemming from loneliness, neglect, and feelings of insignificance; and
WHEREAS, Alaskans can show compassion for neighbors and loved ones by learning to notice and respond to indicating factors for suicide such as depression, loneliness, alcoholism, drug use, and domestic violence, and can impart hope to others by strengthening their sense of worth and belonging and encouraging open communication; and
WHEREAS, mental illness and suicide may often be stigmatized, discouraging at-risk people from seeking the help they desperately need. Every individual should be treated with respect and compassion; and
WHEREAS, through the Alaska State Suicide Prevention Plan, Casting the Net Upstream: Promoting Wellness to Prevent Suicide, StopSuicideAlaska.org, and other group, community, and individual efforts, Alaskans will continue working to reduce our state’s rate of suicide by reaffirming our commitment to each precious life, our communities, and those we love.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sean Parnell, Governor of the State of Alaska, do hereby proclaim September 9 – 15, 2012 as:
Suicide Prevention Week
in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to speak out about depression and suicide, and reach out to those who may be struggling. If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, call the Alaska Careline at 1-877-266-HELP.