Alaska’s Behavioral Health Crisis Continuum: Key Findings and Next Steps

The Trust convened a stakeholder meeting on August 6th in partnership with Southcentral Foundation, Providence, Department of Health and Social Services and the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Association (ASHNA) to review key findings and recommendations from two recent studies of Alaska’s acute behavioral health system: one that addressed the civil side focused on hospital emergency departments, and the other that addressed the forensic side focused on the legal competency to stand trial evaluation and restoration process. An overview of the Crisis Now model, which is a recognized best practice for an efficient and comprehensive crisis system of care, which will help align further conversations for adapting to Alaska.

The two studies, one sponsored by the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association and funded by the Trust and the other jointly funded by Division of Behavioral Health and the Trust, provide valuable data, stakeholder input, case study research, and recommendations to address deficiencies and improve the acute behavioral health system in Alaska. The projects focus on parallel components of Alaska’s behavioral health crisis continuum, which serves individuals with behavioral health needs who are seen in emergency departments and may require civil commitment to API and individuals with behavioral health needs who are seen in the legal system and may be court ordered to participate in the forensic psychiatric process.

Psychiatric boarding in emergency departments and the backlog of individuals waiting in correctional facilities for legal competency evaluations and restoration in the forensic psychiatric system are two pressing issues in need of immediate action and long-term solutions. This joint convening provided an opportunity to learn more about Alaska’s current behavioral health crisis continuum and the solutions being explored.

You can view presentations from the event here:

Related studies: