Ramping Up our
Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team
Since July 1, Alaska Behavioral Health has been ramping up our Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team, through a state grant award. AKBH is continuing services for 32 clients who previously received similar services through another provider, and in November will begin adding 2-3 clients per month for the rest of the fiscal year, through internal and community referrals.
 
An ACT Team can be described as a “Hospital Without Walls.” The ACT Team serves adults whose intensive needs haven’t been met by traditional outpatient services, so they end up cycling through hospitals, correctional facilities and homelessness. These adults experience severe mental illness, often have co-occurring substance use disorders, and sometimes traumatic brain injuries or developmental disabilities that contribute to their difficulty in maintaining stability.
 
The team will maintain a ratio of no more than 10 clients per staff member, and includes therapists, clinical associates, a mobile nurse and a part-time psychiatric prescriber. Staff will help clients with skill development to live independently, and help arrange meal delivery and other accommodations to keep clients safely housed. At least 80% of services need to be provided in the community, not in an office. Clients are seen a minimum of 3 times per week, and usually 4-6 times per week. Because telehealth services are not effective with this population, most services will be in-person. Staff will wear face masks and face shields while working in the field. Once fully staffed, the team will run 7 days a week, and be on call 24 hours a day.

We know how needed these services are in the Anchorage area, and are excited to be working to expand capacity in this area.
Hiking Fundraiser for Alaska Seeds of Change
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Ryan Bacon had just returned from traveling in Spain. He quarantined, and hunkered down in isolation, and at some point, he realized he was feeling stagnant. He decided to challenge himself to do 30 hikes in a month - and to make it a fundraiser for Alaska Seeds of Change, because he realized, as hard as the pandemic has been for him, it's been even harder for others.

Ryan loves that Seeds combines a "healing vocation", growing food, with skill development - and that through the program, youth have a chance to connect with the many great, inspiring, positive people who are part of Alaska's local food movement.

But after hike 10, Ryan hit a snag: injury means he'll have to wait to complete his planned 30 hikes. To keep the fundraiser going, he's asking members of the community to step up and do a hike for the cause -- and spread the word about his fundraiser.

So let's help Ryan meet his challenge goal! Next time you go on a hike, snap a few photos, share them to his fundraiser on Instagram or Facebook and on your own social media pages. He's raised $1300 so far, but is hoping to double that before the fundraiser ends.
Speaking Up for Keeping Kids in Alaska
Alaska Behavioral Health's Director of Child & Family Services Joshua Arvidson recently read a study in The Lancet that concluded long-term institutional care is harmful to children. Arvidson has been active in efforts to treat kids with mental health issues in Alaska for years, and the results of study came as no surprise. But he argues, too many kids are still being sent to our-of-state care, and we could be doing more to support them here.

His opinion piece on the subject was published in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner on September 8, 2020.
Supporting our staff
We're hearing a lot about mental health these days, with surveys showing an increase in depression and anxiety in Alaska and nation-wide. Our staff are mission-driven and want to meet this growing need. But many of them are also parents, so remote-schooling brings them personal challenges also.
That's why we are so grateful for support through the Nonprofit Relief Fund (administered by Alaska Community Foundation) to assist staff with unexpected childcare needs. As Medical clinic operations manager Jenna Moretz puts it, "To have the financial assistance to help me find somewhere with full time childcare availability, so I could continue to go to work to better serve our clients, has simply been a blessing."
Cohen Clinic Update:
Now serving active duty military members
The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Alaska Behavioral Health is now serving active duty military members with a TRICARE referral. The clinic continues to serve post-9/11 veterans regardless of role while in uniform or discharge status, as well as family members of both veterans and active duty members. Call 907-762-8668 for more information.
October Webinar: Building Resiliency in Military Youth
October 15th, 2:00 PM (AKDT), Virtual Event
 
Join the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Alaska Behavioral Health and partner organizations for presentations about building resiliency in military youth, specifically preteens and teens.
 
Topics include parenting tips, mindfulness, and grief/loss.
 
More information coming soon! Follow us on social media for updates @cohenclinicak. Email June Ruda (jruda@akbh.org) to register.

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Training Opportunities
Peer Support Training
Learn what it takes to be a Peer Support Specialist.

There are still a few more sessions of Peer Support Training coming up this fall in both Anchorage and Fairbanks! The class combines pre-work on your own with a 34 hour live training (which can be attended in person or via Zoom). and can be attended by Zoom.

Peer support is a growing field within mental health. Training participants will come away with the skills and qualifications to work as peer support specialists in Alaska. Learn more.
Trauma 101: Last Chance This Fall!
Trauma 101 training focuses on understanding how trauma impacts the body and the brain, how people adapt to trauma, and what we can do as providers, caregivers and community members to support recovery and resiliency. 

The Trauma 101 training is not a training on a specific type of intervention, but is focused on how we can use a better understanding of trauma to be trauma-informed. 

We have one more training in our fall series, on October 30. Sign up here!