Bartlett Hospital report: Suicide attempts up in youth - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, April 20, 2021
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Bartlett Hospital report: Suicide attempts up in youth


KINY – Bradley Grigg, the chief behavioral health officer at Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau, told the city’s Economic Sustainability Taskforce that the hospital is seeing more youth in the emergency department during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have seen a serious uptick in the number of suicide attempts in the last six months.  We’ve had five from the age of 14 to 17, and seven, ages 13 and under, that kills me,” he told the group.

Grigg said the problem is widespread, serious, and affects someone you know.

The task force was established in April by Mayor Beth Weldon.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Youth were experiencing problems before 2020 in their families. Now, school doors are closed, they are missing the only routine and social intetaction they had keep them thinking and moving forward, while they do their best surviving adult problems through their child mentality. Taskforces democrats always like creating it, they bring in money for a few designated employees to do nothing. Might has well as open the schools. Covid has taken more a toll number on peoples mental health than their physical health.

  • Twelve suicide attempts under age 17 in Juneau in the last six months? How many of those were really just attempts to get attention? Who of us having raised children haven’t seen such behavior. Is scratching your wrist with a knife considered a suicide attempt? One thing we’ve all learned in recent years is such stories are predictable methods for bureaucracies to secure funding increases. We need to remain skeptical.

  • Past time to get all the churches open and the message of hope and doing for others back in the minds of everyone especially our youth…

  • Having lived in Juneau on multiple occasions, it is not difficult to imagine the sense of hopelessness and isolation that can weigh on a young person. Take my word for it: It was worse in the past when there was less diversity of thought than exists today. When a young person feels trapped by geography, weather and circumstances, the best antidote is the wonderful bright light of opportunity. Getting out of Juneau is essential but also challenging as the larger world contains many dangers. Adults, and particularly conservatives, need to show how and where life can be made better. The Left, with their “victim” mindset makes things worse. I thank the Lord every day that my kids did not grow up in Juneau.

    • Not to mention the insane levels of opioid addiction there.

    • Thanks.

    • I was born and raised on a SE AK island and have also have lived in Juneau as an adult, doing an 11 year stint there. The island was a fantastic place to be a kid – but that was back in the 1960’s when you played outside all day long and mom would hose you off on the porch and force you to come in for supper. No TV, no social media, no virus besides chicken pox. Family dinners. Never once did I have a sense of hopelessness. No kids died by suicide.
      Times sure have changed.

  • And then there is this tone-deaf response from JSD’s Superintendent from the KTOO story on this:

    “ During a community update Tuesday, Weiss talked about using grant money to hire more positions as virtual learning continues.

    “We are looking at how we can support students and families in this real really, really unique situation where students are missing out on not only the structure part of those activities, but the social part of that,” Weiss said.”

    Let’s hire more people for virtual life when the underlying problem is the reduction in human contact and social interactions. Go figure…

  • I hope someone in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is keeping an eye on this.

  • Its the teachers’ fault, not all of them, but a very vocal and hostile minority. You should have heard the rants and yelling at JSD’s Superintendent. Just terrible. I know of two youth suicides and I attribute to this lock down and isolation. This is exactly double the deaths of the virus, and i believe that person had major underlying conditions. The cure is worse than the disease.

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