Story last updated at 5/9/2012 - 1:16 pm
SITKA - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Program is joining with 15 Southeast Alaska communities to host local "Walk For Life" suicide prevention events at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 12.
Teams in each community have organized their local events, and community members are encouraged to take part in the free walks. The Klukwan/Haines event starts at a different time - 8 a.m. to combine it with the annual Chilkat River Walk/Run/Ride breast cancer awareness event the same day.
The theme is to "Live, Laugh, Love: Let's celebrate life and say 'No!' to suicide." Alaska has one of the highest suicide rates in the country (about double the national average), and the program hopes to help people celebrate life so they don't think about suicide.
Last year there were more than 3,000 participants statewide.
Angoon - Walk starts and ends at Angoon Community Association building, contact Steven Frank (788-4636) and Randy Gamble (957-6386);
Craig - Meet at the Craig Behavioral Health office in the Thibodeau Mall and walk to Healing Heart Totem Park, contact Tim Booth (755-2140);
Hoonah - Meet at the Hoonah Community School softball field for a walk around town finishing at the park by the boat harbor, walk, contact Candy Keown (945-3545);
Hydaburg - Meet at the Alma Cook Medical Center for a walk around Quarry Loop Road to the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall, contact Mary Morris (285-3465);
Kake - Meet at the Kake Boys and Girls Club for a walk around town that finishes at the club (the Kake Senior Center van and an ambulance will trail the walkers), contact Scotty Jackson (785-6519);
Kasaan - Tentative details are meet at Kasaan City Hall for a walk to Totem Café, contact Tim Booth (755-2140);
Klawock - Meet at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center and walk to the Klawock Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall, contact Tim Booth (755-2140);
Klukwan/Haines - Meet at 7:15 a.m. at Haines School for a ride to 8 a.m. start at Klukwan Health Center, contact Joanne "Elsie" Spud (767-5592);
Juneau - Meet at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center for a walk through town that returns to the center, contact Megan Gregory (463-6645);
Metlakatla - Meet at the Annette Island Service Unit clinic for a walk down to the waterfront to let off balloons before returning to the ASIU clinic, contact Sandra Wilson (617-3343);
Sitka - Meet at Crescent Harbor Shelter for a walk to the Sheet'ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi, contact Rena Wallace (966-8755) and Sheryl McAllister (966-8933);
Wrangell - Meet at the KSTK-FM radio station building for a walk to the ferry terminal and back, contact Linda Churchill (470-3157 or 874-2673); and
Yakutat - Meet at Yakutat High School and walk route is TBA, contact Lorena Williams (784-3070).
The 24/7 toll-free SEARHC Help Line (1-877-294-0074) is available for use by any Southeast Alaska resident who might need help working through a crisis. It is staffed by a team of master's-degree-level mental health therapists who will listen and provide effective, compassionate and confidential care.