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Rural Health Information Hub

Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium

  • Project Title: Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC)
  • Program Representative Interviewed: Martha Pearson, Health Promotion Director
  • Location: Southeast Alaska
  • Program Overview: The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) serves the communities of Southeast Alaska with a focus on a healthy balance of mind, body, and spirit. SEARHC has taken a multifaceted approach to its suicide prevention programs, with an emphasis on Alaskan Native traditions as a tool to build resilience in communities.

    SEARHC offers behavioral health services such as counseling and also has its own 24-hour helpline where residents can reach mental health professionals. In addition to these clinical approaches, SEARHC is dedicated to using strengths of individual communities to build resilience and community connectedness. Some examples include school-based programs around canoeing, sea otter sewing, and a night of dancing. These activities are often led by a community member with knowledge in that area. A common thread through these programs is a focus on positivity and connecting youth with traditions of their culture, alongside community members that they know and trust.

    Additionally, SEARHC has partnered with The Prince of Wales Health Network (POWHN) to improve health and healthcare on Prince of Wales Island, including work to address and prevent rural suicides. POWHN is a Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) grant recipient and is also committed to building individual and community resilience in youth in culturally appropriate ways. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) such as abuse or trauma in early childhood can have lifelong impacts and place youth at a greater risk of suicide attempts. This program works to increase awareness about and prevent ACEs using youth peer leaders as positive change agents in their communities.

Models represented by this program: