Treating alcohol abuse as a community vs. individual health issue

Thumbnail_2Alcohol use and abuse is a top health issue in virtually every community. To help raise awareness and educate people about the effects of alcohol abuse in Alaska, Providence has joined other community partners to support the Recover Alaska initiative.

“The commitment to prevention and education around behavioral health issues led us to believe this was something we needed to be a part of,” said Renee Rafferty, director of Behavioral Health Services, Providence Health & Services Alaska. “Working with our community partners, we see Recover Alaska as an opportunity to connect all our resources and explore strategies to take on this problem in our community.”

One of Recover Alaska’s initial efforts has been the “Day 001” project, which features Alaskans sharing their stories of recovery. The project emphasized that every success story has a “first day” on the road to recovery.

Day 001 clearly stuck a chord. It has been picked up by Alaska news media and social media, including Upworthy, which boasts 9.3 million Facebook followers. Many people have shared heartfelt stories of their own recovery from alcohol or that of a loved one. Alaskans also are sharing tragic stories about loved ones whose addictions proved fatal.

“The biggest takeaway is people are hungry for this conversation,” said Tiffany Hall, executive director of Recover Alaska in Anchorage. “We’ve been contacted by lots of people wanting to star in the next round of videos, if we do one. We plan to get more traction out of these stories, both with further campaigns on social media with our partners, and also a potential event sharing our videos and maybe people telling their stories live.” More information about Recover Alaska is available online.