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Health Report: Alaska Behavioral Health expanding services in Fairbanks

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 4:08 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) -As the pandemic continues and the days grow darker, Alaska Behavioral Health is expanding their services and hours. Adult clinician Alicia Lamar explained to us how they are working to help children and adults in the Fairbanks and surrounding areas get through these uncertain times.

“Something I think is always important to remember is that people from all walks of life sometimes just need a little bit of help,” said Lamar.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Census Bureau nearly 30% of Alaskans feel symptoms of anxiety and nearly 18% have reported feeling depressed four or more days in a week.

“This is a hard time of year where we lose sunlight. Sometimes it’s challenging for a lot of people to stay connected, and [they] become a little bit depressed at times -- so we’re encouraging people to reach out if this this is a condition that affects them. We are happy and willing to work with people from all walks of life no matter what their experiencing,” said Lamar.

The Alaska Behavioral Health adult services building is expending its hours to have clinicians available to see clients until 7:00 p.m. This expansion will also include the addition of Saturday hours.

“We also have taken onboard a peer support specialist. This person is someone who works with people coming into programs to kind of help them adjust and make the transition -- someone who’s kind of ‘been there, done that’ and been successful. They kind of model what to expect and show clients how to transition, how to work within the system, and how to do it well. So we’re excited about our peer support program,” said Lamar.

Other services offered include telehealth meetings with Anchorage based child psychiatrist Dr. Curt Wengel, and the new Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness services (PATH).

Lamar explained, “PATH is a program we have that’s working in the community to help identify clients or community members who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. What we’re doing is trying to identify these people and connect them to services like warming centers [and] food kitchens, getting them connected to other services so that we can help meet their needs, both their homeless needs and their mental health concerns,”

Lamar concluded by saying, “We’re all living in uncertain times, but we don’t have to live in that uncertainty alone.”

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