Dona Yoder, NAMI Fairbanks Communications Manager & Nenette Rogers, Executive Director
Mental Illness in Alaska
National Mental Illness Awareness Week (the first week of October) is recognized by NAMI Fairbanks throughout the whole month. This year, the theme is What I Wish I had Known, and NAMI Fairbanks is highlighting some of the effects of mental illness here in Alaska. Based on data available February 2021, the number of adults in Alaska who have a mental health condition is 108,000. More than 3x the population of Juneau! 28,000 adults have a serious mental illness. For this reason, it is vitally important to remember and discuss mental health issues regularly, not just during Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW).
Alaskans struggle to get the help they need. In February 2021, 43.1% of adults in Alaska reported symptoms of anxiety or depression. 26.5% were unable to get needed counseling or therapy. 29,000 adults in Alaska did not receive needed mental health care. 42.1% did not because of cost. 377,740 people in Alaska live in a community that does not have enough mental health professionals. It is more important than ever to build a stronger mental health system that provides the care, support and services needed to help people build better lives.
Sharing Lived Experience
NAMI is featuring videos from real people sharing their lived experience with some of the symptoms and conditions we are focusing on during MIAW. Watch and share Krishna’s story: What I wish people knew about anxiety.
Become Part of the Solution
NAMI Fairbanks invites you to become a part of the solution. We must unite as advocates working together to promote activities such as support groups, mental health support training, and classes, that help provide accurate information to the public about mental illness. Here are some ways to advocate for mental health for Alaskans:
• Share resources and data using all available communication outlets such as social media, email, and in-person story-telling.
• Vote for mental health in the polls. Support the candidates who prioritize mental health services in the state of Alaska.
• Become a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness or renew your annual membership. Your active membership with NAMI joins your voice with the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
• Become trained as a NAMI Support Group Facilitator or to teach a NAMI Education course.
• Participate in NAMI courses or support groups.
Let’s work together to ensure that our friends, loved ones, coworkers, and neighbors are receiving the counseling, therapy, and support they need to live thriving and healthy lives, which in turn strengthens our community!