Statement from Trust CEO Mike Abbott

June 19, 2020

At the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, our work and our mission is to improve the lives and circumstances of Trust beneficiaries. Systemic racism and racial trauma, as well as disparities in the systems that serve them, harm the mental health, lives, and circumstances of many beneficiaries in our state. 

Alaskans of all races, regardless of their behavioral health challenges, should expect their interactions with the criminal justice system and first responders to be constructive, compassionate, and situationally appropriate.  We know that is the stated goal of our institutions, but many of them lack the capability to meet that expectation.  The Trust is working to bring resources to Alaska that will allow first responders to defer to professionals trained and prepared to help Alaskans in a less intense, more positive manner.  We will also continue our work with partners across the state to address the cycle of recidivism in Alaska that impacts so many People of Color and Trust beneficiaries.

The Trust recognizes and will engage in the significant work that must be done to improve our systems of care and our cultural competencies to equitably address the challenges faced by our beneficiaries and People of Color.