News Release

Fairbanks Native Association

Fairbanks Native Association has received three grants totaling nearly $4.1 million to enhance Behavioral Health Services to treat at risk youth, young adults, and those impacted by COVID-19.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded Fairbanks Native Association Behavioral Health Services a five-year, $2.1 million grant to provide outpatient treatment for young Indigenous young adults aged 21-25; a five-year, $1.2 million grant to reconnect at risk youth and young adults to a substance free and mentally health life; and lastly; a $798,000 grant to expand Fairbanks Native Association’s Mental Health Trauma Team services for those impacted by COVID-19.

“Our board of directors and membership have directed Fairbanks Native Association to provide as much behavioral health services as possible to our people and the Fairbanks community,” said Steve Ginnis, Fairbanks Native Association executive director. “Improving the quality of life by promoting healing and wellness has been Fairbanks Native Association’s mission for years. These new grants will enhance the already dynamic system we operate.”

  • The $2.1 million five year grant, called Preparing our Future Leaders, will work with Alaska Native/American Indian young people ages 21-25. Considered transitional aged youth, they are most at risk for substance use disorder and mental health issues. The young adults has not been previously targeted for intervention appropriate for their age group, and this grant will allow Fairbanks Native Association staff to focus on them. The new grant will provide outpatient services using culturally appropriate and evidence based materials.
  • The $1.2 million, five-year grant, Reconnecting Youth, will seek coordination among all agencies working with at-risk youth up to age 24. This will insure a common standard of care among various agencies. Most importantly, the new grant will provide follow up services for youth who have attempted suicide and use substances.
  • The Mental Health Trauma Treatment was extended for another year with the $798,000 SAMSHA grant. MHTT was established in 2020 to address mental health issues and domestic violence that have come about because of COVID-19. The extension grant will provide staff to focus on suicide and domestic violence prevention training for community members, coalition members, and clinical providers.

The three grants are in addition to the two previous grants that Fairbanks Native Association Behavioral Health Services has received this summer. Fairbanks Native Association Behavioral Health Services was awarded a $2 million SAMHSA grant to treat trauma in Indigenous families, and another $1.5 million SAMHSA grant to address the opioid epidemic in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. 

Indigenous families can carry historical and intergenerational trauma due to loss of land, culture, spiritual practices, language, and traditional family structures. The trauma makes certain people at risk for mental health issues and substance use disorders, for whom the new grant will provide treatment.

Recently, the Epidemiology Section of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services released a public health alert saying emergency departments have seen an increase of heroin overdoses. According to the epidemiology section, the average number of heroin overdose visits doubled during March-May 2021 from 2020 during the same time period. In Alaska, 60% of drug overdose deaths involved opioids, for a total of 68 cases in 2018, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The new grant will address the public health crisis. 

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