Alaska Village Has 4th Suicide in 3 Weeks

21-year-old man knew the other 3 who died
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2015 5:00 AM CDT
Alaska Village Has 4th Suicide in 3 Weeks
Students watch as the National Inuit Youth Council and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami hold a "Celebration of Life" event on World Suicide Prevention Day in Ottawa last month.   (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP)

If suicides were happening in the rest of the United States at the rate they're taking place in Hooper Bay, Alaska, more than a million young people would have killed themselves since Sept. 24. State troopers say that a 21-year-old man has become the fourth person to die by suicide in the village of 1,200 people in the space of 16 days, the Alaska Dispatch reports. A relative says that the man, who was found dead at his parents' home on Saturday afternoon, was friends with the same group of people in their 20s that has experienced three "domino effect" suicides over the last few weeks, the paper notes.

A suicide prevention team had already been arranged for the Yup'ik Eskimo community, the AP reports. The team from Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. is due to arrive this week, but the corporation's emergency services director says residents have asked for a smaller team than had originally been planned. "The tribe has actually requested that we don't have a big response team right now," he tells the AP. "They want to focus on grieving and funerals." In an op-ed at the Dispatch, educator Bill Hutton urges Alaskans to take time to think about how the people of Hooper Bay must be feeling. "And wish them hope and better days," he writes. "Maybe if enough of us Alaskans wish, something good will happen—or maybe just something tragic won't happen." (More Alaska stories.)

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