Dear Friends,

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. While the warmer weather and increased daylight may naturally inspire feelings of relief and energy in some of us, now is a good time to remind ourselves of the importance of good mental health. According to NAMI Alaska, 1 in 5 American adults will experience some form of mental health condition in any given year. Statistics indicate that 1 in every 20 adults are living with a serious mental health condition, such as long-term depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.

Take a moment to mull over these numbers and consider how normal it is to experience a mental health condition. Grief, anxiety, substance use, stress, and so many other factors can distort our experience of the world. The good news is that our understanding of mental health, and our health care system’s ability to provide support and care, are constantly improving.

Remember: if you or someone you know has a mental health condition, you are not alone. Here are some resources available both locally, and on the national level:

  • #breakthestigma: An online movement dedicated to increasing awareness of mental health issues, breaking down barriers to accessing care, and creating an environment where there can be open and honest conversations about mental health.

  • IKnowMine: A wellness program run by ANTHC that provides online support for Alaskan youth to help connect them with specific support resources in Alaska.

  • A state-run initiative that provides immediate connection and support for anyone who is experiencing distress related to their mental health. Aid seekers need only dial 988.

Please share these resources with your networks as appropriate. We hope you’ll keep your own mental health a priority during the upcoming month. Speaking of which, please keep an eye out for these May events!

  • May 16: Continuing training session, “Money Talks,” with Candis Fox. For more information, please email Jess Limbird at [email protected].

  • May 11-12: The Foraker Leadership Summit will be held in Anchorage to discuss the theme, “Reimaging the Way We Work.” Please visit for more information.

  • Workgroup Updates: Most groups will be wrapping up long-term projects in their upcoming May meetings—so if you’re interested in joining a new group, now is the perfect time! The Symposium Team will continue to meet on a monthly basis and would like to invite any interested participants to contact Marlene at [email protected].
Alaska Wellness & Prevention Symposium Archive

In late February 2023, individuals from across the state convened for the first Alaska Wellness & Prevention Symposium. Over three days, care providers, researchers, community partners, and individuals with lived experiences celebrated, healed, and shared knowledge. It was a whirlwind of creativity, openness, and true community spirit, and we're so grateful to all who attended and shared their stories with us. We continue to learn and grow from your wisdom and your grace, and we’re sharing pieces of the Symposium on the website.
We wish you a good month ahead that is full of greener things, long walks by the water, and plenty of fresh spring air. As always, please reach out to us with any questions. Thank you, each of you, for your work to heal our families, communities, and systems. You are seen, and you are needed! Feel free to send us your news and updates for next month's newsletter via the submission link below.

Be well,
Jess and Marlene 
Shown above is an advertisement run on Metropolitan Area Commuter System (MACS) Transit as part of the Strategic Prevention Framework Grant for preventing underage drinking. The advertisement was developed by Brenda Hanna, Strategic Prevention Framework's Project Manager with the Fairbanks Native Association.
Alaska Geographic: Alaska Geographic is accepting nominations for FREE teen expeditions! The next application review date is Monday, May 8th. If you know a student (or a few) who would excel when given the opportunity to experience our public lands through backpacking or sea kayaking and stewardship—nominate them today! A student needs a completed student application AND a nominator form to be considered. It only takes five minutes to nominate a student, yet you could be helping provide them with an experience of a lifetime!

Evaluation Workgroup: The Evaluation workgroup is looking to fill the role of Evaluation Liaison. If you’d like to attend the May Evaluation workgroup meeting, please reach out to Hanna Menefee at [email protected].
A Note From UAA MSW Student Practicum with The Alliance, Veronica Driskill

My name is Veronica Driskill, and I have had the privilege of being a practicum student with The Alliance for the FY 22-23 term. This has been an incredible year, during which we have achieved great success in advancing data equity throughout the state. As part of our efforts, we organized regional data equity discussions (via zoom) using contact information from the spreadsheet that I designed that included organizations and individuals from Alaska's six major regions.

We furthered our discussions on data equity at the Wellness and Prevention Symposium and gathered valuable input from both professionals working on prevention efforts and community members. Through these discussions, I identified five major themes that were consistently highlighted: Collaboration/Coordination/Partnership, Community Involvement & Engagement, Data Sharing/Accessibility, Strengths-Based Approach, and Education/Training.

I used participant feedback shared during the Symposium to develop a color-coded themes document that will be provided to the Data and Learning Workgroup and The Alliance at the May 11th Data and Learning Workgroup Meeting. We are hopeful that this work will continue within the Data & Learning workgroup. I am now in the process of formulating recommendations for The Alliance on how we can further enhance data equity and related initiatives. These recommendations will build upon the success we have already achieved and will help us to continue making progress in this important area.

I look forward to working with you all in the future, and wish you all the best! Thanks so much for such an amazing year of work!
We will always do our best to publish upcoming events in a timely, regular manner for our newsletter subscribers. We also keep an event calendar through the Recover Alaska website that allows our partners a secondary means of sharing their event news with our community. We welcome your submissions!
Leadership Academy Project Series: Community Based Change Through Leadership Initiatives

This series will discuss on-the-ground initiatives focusing on improving important aspects of Indigenous communities’ well being. The series addresses different aspects of community health and describes projects that have impacted communities across the country. Join us to meet the presenters who have stepped up for their communities and driven meaningful change.

  • Monday, May 15: Mashkizibii Mentoring Project - Bad River Survival Revival Series; Lynn Maday, Peer Coordinator, Sr, Medweoshkakwe (Ojibwe)

  • Monday, May 22: Healing is Resistance – Recovery as Liberation; Maria C. Molina, LCSW, she/her/hers, Pascua Yaqui Tribe

  • Monday, June 5: Yoeme Life Skills Curriculum: Nau Te Inetene – Together We Heal; Bridget Valenzuela, MEd, BHT, Pascua Yaqui Tribe

  • Monday, June 12: Implementing Trauma Informed Care in Primary Care Settings; Melanie Hazle, MSBS, LMFT, Choctaw Nation Tribe

  • Monday, June 19: Modoc Ancestral Run: Transcending Trauma through connection; Monica (Yellowowl) Super, CADC, CPS, Pit River Tribe
Examining FASD Diagnosis | ECHO Series

This Month: May 17, 8:00-9:00 AM

Examining FASD Diagnosis ECHO is a six-part series that will explore the current issues, systems, and practices impacting Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) diagnosis in Alaska and beyond.

This series runs on the 3rd Wednesday of each month from 8:00-9:00 a.m. AKST, January-June, 2023 and is intended for an interdisciplinary, multi-sector audience of clinical and non-clinical experts who provide supports and services to individuals impacted by prenatal alcohol exposure.

Objectives of the Examining FASD Diagnosis ECHO include:

  • Define barriers and benefits to FASD diagnosis
  • Discuss current strategies to diagnosis FASD and examine how these strategies might best serve Alaskans
  • Describe systems & tools that might support FASD diagnosis and interventions in Alaska and beyond

Alaska Suicide Prevention Conference, ‘Messages of Hope’

Event to be held at the William A. Egan Civic & Convention Center, at 555 West 5th Ave, Anchorage, AK, 99501.

The Alaska Division of Behavioral Health’s Suicide Prevention Team and the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council would like to welcome you to the Alaska Suicide Prevention Conference, ‘Messages of Hope.’ This conference will be an opportunity to engage with suicide prevention research, data, innovation, and community-level action to help shape your work to address suicide within Alaska.

This conference will also highlight the five-year State Suicide Prevention Plan, the power of youth voices, and Alaskan-centered knowledge. Please register HERE to reserve your spot!
Healing Together Series | Intersection of Trauma, Mental Health & Substance Use Experiences: Understanding Substance use & Mental Health Coercion

Series Description: This comprehensive educational opportunity delves into the underlying causes of violence and the link between trauma and substance use. Participants will learn about the science of addiction and the impact of substance use and mental health coercion in the context of abuse and control. Additionally, the series will cover organizational healing and transformation to support this crucial work. Join us on this empowering journey towards understanding and breaking the cycles of violence. Find the full hand out with details on each session here.

The Trainer: Christina Love is an Indigenous survivor and an intersectional Senior Specialist with a primary focus on substance use, mental health, disability access, neurodiversity, and issues connected to higher rates of violence for marginalized and targeted groups of people.

May 18 Session (10:00-11:30 AM): An introduction to the intertwinement of trauma, mental health, and substance use. Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) survivors often face the critical issue of substance use and mental health coercion by their abusive partners. This has far-reaching effects on both the domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy fields, as well as substance use treatment and recovery. The goal of this training is to educate service providers on the connections between substance use coercion and IPV and help them identify the tactics used to prevent survivors from seeking help and recovering.

Meeting ID: 824 1286 6085
Passcode: 042828

Event made possible by ANDVSA and ANTHC.
About The Alliance

The Alliance is a collaborative effort of multiple and diverse partners across Alaska who recognize the impacts of alcohol misuse on individuals and communities. We are personally and professionally committed to working together to address this complex problem in our state.

Our primary goal is to connect and engage communities as partners — increasing protective factors, reducing risk factors, and changing social norms — to prevent underage alcohol use and eliminate adult misuse in Alaska.

Alliance Materials

Get Involved

Between starting new work and sustaining our progress, there are many opportunities to participate in The Alliance! All current workgroups are open to any member who would like to join. You can always read more about our workgroups and their purpose on the Get Involved page of our website. Our network practices an emergent strategy, and we update information based on our network's needs.

  • The Communications Workgroup will be supporting the social norms campaign and The Alliance's various other internal and external communications needs.
  • The Data and Learning Workgroup will be supporting data equity conversations and practices.
  • The Evaluation and Learning Workgroup is building out quarterly measures for the network to support grant reporting but also to increase real-time evaluation across the network so we can track and respond to improvement needs more frequently.
  • The Strategy and Design Workgroup builds structures and processes for the network to work in alignment with our values and theory of change.
  • The Symposium Planning Workgroup meets to plan and implement the statewide Alaska Wellness and Prevention Symposium and regional convenings to support an aligned and coordinated prevention workforce.

You are welcome to reach out with questions about those workgroups or to ask to join any of them.
We hold monthly newsletter meetings at 11 AM on the Wednesday one week before month's end. Contact Jess Braunlich at [email protected] if you would like more information about this meeting/to be added to the calendar invite for the meeting. Feel free to send us your news and updates for next month's newsletter via the submission link below.