Building Bridges

Building Bridges is intended to prevent suicide and suicide attempts among American Indian/Alaska Native adults, age 25 and older, to reduce the overall suicide rate and number of suicides in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. It will build systems, and bridge service gaps, integrating critical components of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and the Tribal Behavioral Health Agenda in alignment with AI/AN culture.

The population of focus is AI/AN adults, ages 25 and older, in the FNSB, which has some of the highest suicide mortality and attempt rates in the nation. In 2017, the suicide attempt rate (per 100,000) for FNSB AI/AN was 882.4. The suicide mortality rate was 51.9, nearly twice that of all Alaskans and more than three times that of the nation. These rates have been increasing since 2003.

In order to address these escalating rates, Building Bridges will connect critical systems, and reduce service gaps to develop a comprehensive continuum of care for adult suicide prevention and care. This will be achieved through two critical goals; 1) to initiate community systems change while addressing suicide for adults aged 25+ through the efforts of an Adult Interagency Transition Council; and 2) to fill existing service gaps in the suicide continuum of care to provide the full continuum of suicide services from prevention, screening, follow-up and treatment to AI/AN in the FNSB.

Building Bridges project services include community-wide systems change and community mobilization through the AITC, which will be patterned after and mentored by the 17-member youth Interagency Transition Council, which has been in place for six years. The AITC will address the overall system of services and supports and collaboration among the system of care providers. It will develop protocols for rapid service access, rapid follow-up, access to lethal means, and establishment of follow-up and care transition policies for services after discharge from emergency care.

Services will include rapid follow up and transition for those who have attempted suicide, screening and referral to treatment and support services, case management, clinical training for FNA Behavioral Health staff, evidence-based QPR Gatekeeper prevention training to staff and the local system of care providers, and inclusion of veteran organizations, including a veteran on the AITC.

The result of Building Bridges will be a service continuum which will include prevention, screening/brief intervention, rapid follow-up, case management and Behavioral Health Outpatient and Residential treatment. Building Bridges is intended to serve 143 community members, 13 AITC members, three staff, and 319 clients for a total of 478 people  during the three-year life of the project.

PURPOSE: To implement applicable components of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention in alignment with Alaska Native and American Indian culture

OVERARCHING GOAL: To prevent suicide and suicide attempts among adults, age 25 and older, in order to reduce the overall suicide rate and the number of suicides in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.