Alaska’s mental health services deficit exacerbates the state’s problems

More than 4.15 percent of Alaskans — 30,000 total, or roughly one out of every 25 residents — suffers from a serious mental illness, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Those Alaskans are among the most vulnerable members of our communities. Expanding the definition to any mental illness, almost 19 percent of Alaskans ages 18 and older experienced mental illness in the past year. That’s close to one in five. If the importance of robust, effective mental health services in Alaska isn’t yet apparent to you given those numbers, it should be.