May 22 2011The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Program will host the “1 is 2 Many” Southeast Alaska regional suicide prevention task force in its annual meeting this week in Juneau. The task force will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, May 26-27, at the Vocational Training and Resource Center, 3239 Hospital Drive. This is the annual meeting for the task force, and the meeting is open to the public. The task force was started in January 2010 to develop a regional suicide prevention plan that representatives could take back to the local communities. The task force features representatives from schools, health organizations, law enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard, clergy, tribal leaders and other community leaders from throughout the region. The task force is funded through a grant managed by the SEARHC Behavioral Health Prevention program, which also offers the SEARHC Help Line for use by all Southeast Alaska residents. Four members of the task force — Bill Martin, Wilbur Brown, Rebecca Herington and Megan Gregory — will be interviewed about the impacts of suicide in Southeast Alaska on KTOO-FM radio’s “A Juneau Afternoon” interview show with Jeff Brown between 3-4 p.m. on Friday. Suicide is a major concern for Alaska Natives and Native Americans in rural Alaska, especially since suicide takes a disproportionately heavier toll on Indian Country than it does on the rest of the United States. In addition, the “Every Mile Is Worth It” five-kilometer (3.1-mile) fun run (with a maze) takes place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 28, on the Treadwell Trails. There also is a one-mile run/walk. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Sandy Beach shelter in Douglas. Entry fees are $1 for children age 13-younger, $5 for children ages 14-19, and $10 for adults ($12 for adult day-of-race registration). Proceeds benefit the new Youth Ambassador suicide prevention program that starts in August. Running hats will be available for the first 75 entrants. There will be door prizes, hamburgers, hot dogs and Gatorade after the race, when Bill Martin will discuss the task force’s work. For more information about the race and the meeting, contact Megan Gregory at 463-6645 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Paul DeSloover with Southeast Road Runners (about the race only) at email@example.com. Tléil Ayeelaxàajeekl (Don’t despair). If you are stressed out and need help, the 24/7 toll-free SEARHC Help Line, 1-877-294-0074, is available for use by any Southeast Alaska resident who might need help working through a crisis. The SEARHC Help Line is staffed by a team of master’s-degree-level mental health therapists who will listen and provide effective, compassionate and confidential care. The SEARHC Help Line is offered as a free resource to complement the care provided at SEARHC Behavioral Health clinics.