Alaska’s U.S. senators have signed onto a bipartisan bill that would require states to include Native tribes and tribal organizations in suicide intervention and prevention planning.
Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren introduced the bill on Thursday. It was co-sponsored by 16 other senators, including Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. The bill would amend a section of the Public Health Service Act to require states and their designees that are receiving grants for suicide intervention and prevention to collaborate with federally recognized tribes and tribal organizations. The bill is being called the Native American Suicide Prevention Act of 2018.
Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for Alaska Natives, and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region has the highest suicide rate in the state.
If you or one of your loved ones is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also call the YKHC Behavioral Health Department's Crisis Response Line at 907-543-6499 or toll-free at 1-844-543-6499.