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Senator Dan Sullivan visits Fort Wainwright, discusses increase in military deaths by suicide

Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 4:41 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - As Alaska sees unusually high rates of service member deaths by suicide, Senator Dan Sullivan held a press event on Thursday discussing the issue and the steps being taken to address it.

Sullivan was joined by Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA).

The two have spent the week visiting Fort Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, speaking with senior leadership, service members and others.

Sullivan suggests getting service members quicker access to behavioral health services, improving housing and transportation, and preparing members and their families for life in Alaska among other actions.

“What we’ve tried to do is change the culture, and when people say ‘I need help,’ that they’re not stigmatized, and we’re getting better at that,” Sullivan said. “But what we’re not good at here in Alaska yet, is when they need help, they need help now - and every meeting we have is that when people are asking for help, the answer is, ‘Alright, two to three to five months.’ Months!”

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