Survey, conference aims to help Juneau residents find causes of disease, illness

A negative experience as a child can have a big impact on a person’s health, and the Juneau Suicide Prevention Coalition wants to begin figuring how those experiences are affecting the people of Juneau — and spreading the word about the link in the first place.
“The ACEs study seems to be well-known within specific communities (like behavioral health) but broadly, in the community, it’s not well known,” said Hilary Young, Suicide Prevention Program Coordinator for Juneau Youth Services and JSPC.[..]
Many people may not have even spoken about negative experiences they had early on in life — but healing can start even just with the survey, said coalition member and retired state health planner and epidemiologist Alice Rarig.
“We find that just bringing it up, just showing that you care whether (a person has had) these experiences begins the recovery process,” Rarig said. “It helps people to acknowledge what they’ve been through. Sometimes they’ve never acknowledged it at all.” […]
Anyone can take the survey at It’s anonymous, though they do ask for a person’s sex and age range (they’d like to get a range of people representative of the community.) It’ll be available until the end of May, Young said. Read More…

How one Anchorage elementary school is transforming troubled students’ lives

In the middle of Anchorage magic is happening within the walls of North Star Elementary School. Bordered by low-income housing and blocks of small businesses, the Title I school and its staff make an intentional effort to look beyond disruptive behavior and outbursts to find and nurture a child’s unlimited potential.

The effort has paid off. Referrals to the Office of Children’s Services from the school are down, test scores are up and overall behavior has improved. Read More…

How Do You Help Someone Who is at Risk of Suicide?

How do you help someone who is at risk of suicide?

That’s a question that haunts the people of Greenland, the country with the highest known rate of suicide in the world and the subject of a special NPR report this week. The rate is about 80 per 100,000, and the group at highest risk is young Inuit men[…]
NPR talked with Harkavy-Friedman and Dr. Jitender Sareen of the University of Manitoba, both psychiatrists, about what is known about youth suicide and best practices for preventing suicide. Harkavy-Friedman studies teen suicide prevention, and Sareen studies suicide trends among Native people in the Arctic. The interviews have been edited for length and clarity. Read More..

In West, region of guns and suicide, outreach to curb deaths

Keith Carey is a gunsmith in Montrose, a town with a frontier flavor set amid the mesas of western Colorado. He’s a staunch, though soft-spoken, defender of the right to bear arms. Yet now he’s a willing recruit in a fledgling effort to see if the gun community itself — sellers and owners of firearms, operators of shooting ranges — can help Colorado and other Western states reduce their highest-in-the-nation suicide rates.
At the urging of a local police commander, Carey agreed last year to participate in the Gun Shop Project, a state-funded program in which gun sellers and range operators in five western Colorado counties were invited to help raise awareness about suicide…

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