Confronting suicide in Alaska

Suicide rates in the world's circumpolar communities remain several times higher than their southern counterparts. (iStock)
Suicide rates in the world’s circumpolar communities remain several times higher than their southern counterparts. (iStock)
A discussion after a suicide can help support vulnerable people who are at risk, or it can help push them in that direction, a lot depends on the words used to describe the event.

Usually, those who take their life are alone and most people won’t hear about it. But four recent suicides in Hooper Bay, Alaska and the very public death of a man who killed himself inside the Dena’ina Convention Center at the end of the annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention on Saturday has Alaskans and Alaska news media grappling with the right way to report without sensationalizing, deaths that result from suicide.

Eric Boyer is the training coordinator at UAA’s Center for Human Development. He says everyone in Alaska can play a role in preventing suicide. Alaska Public Radio Network’s Lori Townsend reports.
Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  The elephant in the room – Mental health in Arctic communities, Blog by Heather Exner-Pirot

Finland:  OECD ‘concerned’ over high suicide rates in Finland, YLE News

Russia:  Why high suicide rates in Arctic Russia?, Blog by Deutsche Welle’s Iceblogger

Sweden: Gender stereotypes behind high suicide rate, Radio Sweden

United States:  Examining mental health in Arctic Alaska, Alaska Dispatch News


Lori Townsend, Alaska Public Media

For more news from Alaska visit Alaska Public Media.

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