TACKLING A THREAT NO ONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT

Alaska's suicide rate is one of the highest in the nation. In rural Alaska, suicide rates are among the highest in the world, with more young people ages 15-24, dying by suicide than in any other state (American Association of Suicidology). Spawn Ideas set out to shed light on this crisis and find a way to prevent suicide. Together with Anchorage Rotary Club, the Agency's pro bono client in 2016, we decided to get every Rotary group in the state involved (1700 Rotarians) - which is what happened. A single club's project became a statewide commitment.

CHOOSING THE AUDIENCE WHO CAN DO THE MOST GOOD

Many people don't realize they have the power to save another person's life. Research shows that a suicidal person feels isolated and, therefore, positive healthy relationships are a key factor in prevention. Learning this, our campaign's aim was to empower Alaskans to overcome the barriers they felt to helping a friend or family member with depression and/or suicidal behaviors.

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A "THREE-LEGGED STOOL" SOLUTION

Opportunities, talented volunteers and sponsors made possible a comprehensive effort: (1) More than 1400 Rotarians statewide were offered the suicide prevention training called Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) - a program that teaches regular people how to talk to a troubled person and refer them to help. (2) Dedicated high school youth received the support they needed to take a small peer-to-peer student training and education program statewide. (3) And a broad-reaching 12-week media campaign pointed listeners, viewers and browsers to life-saving information on a Careline hotline and at stopsuicidealaska.org.

AN UNEXPECTED BONUS

Sponsor, GCI, found the campaign's goal was too important to see it sunset. Instead, they made a 5-year financial commitment to the cause and are continuing their own suicide prevention work.

Public Relations Society of America - Alaska Chapter

Aurora Award

First Place, Public Service