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Wednesday, December 6 • 4:45pm - 5:15pm
Building an Adolescent Behavioral Health Roadmap in a Rural State

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Adolescent behavioral health needs are at an all-time high across the nation. Rural states in particular are faced with finding solutions to a growing behavioral health crisis while simultaneously defending against an increasing number of investigations and lawsuits brought by the federal government. Alaska’s acute workforce shortages combined with extreme geographical and infrastructure challenges have led to creation of unique strategies to increase access to behavioral health. In this session, Alaska will:1.Share success stories and unique strategies to enhance access to behavioral health in rural states, including Alaska’s Behavioral Health Aide and Community Health Aide programs which train individuals to respond to behavioral health crisis and provide therapeutic services in rural and Tribal communities (recognized in SAMHSA’s 2023 National Guidelines for Child and Youth Behavioral Crisis Care report). Other initiatives include mobile crisis teams in rural areas, telehealth, and psychiatric consulting for providers through a grant funded partnership with Seattle Children’s Hospital.c2.Share Alaska’s Behavioral Health Roadmap for Youth, an intensive effort to structure a region-focused, iterative approach to improving the continuum of care for Alaskan youth with behavioral health disabilities. This Roadmap includes a process for meaningful stakeholder engagement, tribal partnerships, and building out care in unique geographic environments. The intent is that this roadmap will provide a focused path to: 1) create a shared vision for behavioral health services in Alaska; 2) align funding opportunities and requests with service delivery needs; 3) identify barriers including regulatory, fiscal, technology, or other issues not fully addressed; and 4) ensure unique regional and cultural needs are cared for and local solutions leveraged as much as possible.When complete, the plan will provide a framework with specific, phased approaches to statewide and regional service building, including an implementation timeline and measurable results. The plan will be shared with the legislature and other governmental agencies. In this session, Alaska will provide an overview of this project along with next steps and opportunities for interstate collaboration.

Learning Objectives:
  1. How to build a behavioral health system of care in a rural state.
  2. Tribal/state collaboration challenges and opportunities.
  3. Landscape of federal involvement in state behavioral health.

avatar for Laura Russell, J.D.

Laura Russell, J.D.

Assistant Attorney General, Alaska Department of Law
Laura Russell is an assistant attorney general for the State of Alaska, and provides support to the Department of Health and Department of Family and Community Services. An attorney licensed in both Alaska and Virginia, Laura graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law... Read More →

Wednesday December 6, 2023 4:45pm - 5:15pm PST
Vendôme B