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Ketchikan Wellness Coalition Awarded $100,000 Grant for Crisis Now

Model includes Mobile Crisis response


June 02, 2022

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - The Ketchikan Wellness Coalition (KWC) was awarded $100,000 from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority to begin the development of a community plan to implement the Crisis Now model, a national framework designed to improve systems of care when responding to individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

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Funding for this program will support the position of a Crisis Now Community Director, a position that KWC is actively recruiting for. This position is responsible for the overall leadership, management, communication, and planning for the program and will function as the key liaison for community partners and the community at large in relation to the Crisis Now program.

“We’ve heard from many people in Ketchikan, from individuals to first responders to health care workers, that this type of model is much needed. We are excited that KWC will be working with our community partners and key stakeholders to create a plan that will see Ketchikan improve its approach to mental health crisis response and get people the support and care they need, when they need it” says Romanda Simpson, Executive Director of Ketchikan Wellness Coalition, “now we just need to find the right person to fill the Community Director role”.

The Crisis Now model has been implemented in communities across the nation, including in Alaskan communities; last fall the framework was successfully launched in Fairbanks. However, not all aspects of the Crisis Now model can be implemented in Alaska communities due to limited resources and infrastructure. The Crisis Now model aims to provide the most suitable care and supports for individuals in crisis while reducing inappropriate use of emergency room visits and correctional settings. This could include mobile crisis teams and short-term stabilization in addition to other community specific solutions.

The KWC will work with community partners, including public safety, local governments, tribal organizations, non-profits, and hospital and health care providers and will also seek feedback an input from the general public to determine how the model could be adapted for implementation in Ketchikan. The goal of the first year of the program is to develop a community implementation strategy, including outlining an action plan and financial sustainability plan.

KWC History

Quoting the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition's website, in 2007, the United Way of Southeast Alaska released the Compass II survey. This survey contained detailed quantitative data and statistics related to Ketchikan and its population and a large amount of qualitative data based on statements and opinions offered throughout the survey, focus groups, and interviews. After the distribution of this report, an organizational group of individuals met once a month for about a year identifying how to proceed. At that time, this group developed a strategic plan with the vision statement: “Establish Ketchikan as a vibrant community that people choose to live in and move to” and the mission statement: “promote community wellness through assessment and action.” This group became the “Ketchikan Wellness Coalition” with the goal of addressing the needs identified in the Compass II Assessment and other community needs identified through future assessments.  Five task forces were initially assembled: Empowering Youth, The Cost of Substance Abuse, Strengthening Cultural Unity, Uniting Around Life’s Challenges, and A Diverse Year-Round Economy. During the next year, two additional task forces joined the KWC: Promoting Respectful Relationships and Suicide Prevention Education and Awareness in Ketchikan. In November of 2012, the Tongass Community Food Alliance was added as the eighth task force. Since then task forces have developed in response to needs, or have ended once goals have been accomplished or the work/programs transitioned to a permanent home in another organization. 

Today the KWC is a formal 501 (c)3 non-profit organization made up of the KWC Board and staff and multiple task forces.  The organization and task forces are funded in part by grants from the City of Ketchikan, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, individuals, foundations and community grants, corporate sponsors, KWC membership, the Federal Government, and the State of Alaska.

Edited By: Mary Kauffman, SitNews

Source of News:

Ketchikan Wellness Coalition

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