Through technology, Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association aims foster connectivity with adults 25 years and older by developing accessible resources in effort to prevent suicides and domestic violence. APIA’s mission is to promote self-sufficiency and independence of the Unangax^ (Aleut) people by advocacy, training, technical assistance and economic enhancement; to assist in meeting the health, safety, and well¬-being needs of each Unangax^ community; to promote, strengthen and ensure the unity of the Unangax^; and, to strengthen and preserve the Unangax^ cultural heritage. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration award COVID-19 Emergency Response for Suicide Prevention Grant (COVID-19 ERSP) aligns with APIA’s mission to meet the health, safety, and well-being needs of Unangax^ communities.
The Unangax^ region is comprised of sparsely populated archipelago islands. The rugged beauty and rich history are in stark contrast to the ruthless weather (fog, wind, rain, repeat). Residents are a hardy group. They have had to rely on each other to survive, which the task of daily living can take a toll. The rate of suicide among all Alaskans in 2017, 26.9 per 100,000, was nearly 2 times higher than the national rate. For Alaska Native people in 2017, the rate was more than 3 times higher than the national rate, 51.9 per 100,000 (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Suicide mortality by state: 2016). More than 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women (84.3 percent) have experienced violence in their lifetime (Rosay, 2016). The COVID-19 pandemic impacts this at-risk population disproportionally (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/racial-ethnic-minorities.html). There is a high potential for an increase in suicides and domestic violence in both the region and in the urban center, within a state that already faces such high numbers in these areas, it is a public health concern.
The goal of this project is to increase the capacity of APIA’s Behavioral Health Services Program and the Healthy Relationships Program in order to increase support and communication with at-risk adults age 25 years or older who are at greater risk of domestic violence and suicide due to COVID-19.
The following objectives will be implemented to reach our goal:
Objective 1: By November 15, 2020, APIA Healthy Relationships Program will have three public services announcements focused on domestic violence prevention and resources completed and ready for release in Atka, Nikolski, St. George, and Unalaska via public radio and VHF (in communities without radio). We will also post the PSAs on Facebook for a wider audience to raise awareness and promote services during times of social isolation due to COVID-19.
Objective 2: By January 30, 2021, APIA will have an app and patient portal with 24-hour access. This will increase resources available to adults who may be isolated due to COVID-19. The app and patient portal will have evidenced based resources such as video clips (e.g., mindfulness exercises), worksheets (CBT and DBT activity sheets), and culturally relevant content (e.g., APIA’s Unangam Tunuu word of the day). National suicide and domestic violence numbers will be on the app and portal along with the state wide AA call in number.