Blog – Full Content, No Meta

Mural Painting at Alaska Seeds of Change

Artist Sarah Davies leads mural painting project at Alaska Seeds of Change

(Anchorage, Alaska) Anchorage artist and high-school teacher Sarah Davies is leading a mural painting project at a facility that provides vocational training, outreach and mental health supports for homeless and at-risk youth.
Work on the mural began July 8 and will continue at least through July 18. The design was a collaboration between Davies and the youth served at the facility in the Spenard area of Anchorage. Youth and community volunteers are completing the painting work.
Davies says this project, like all of her work, is “about engaging people who generally don’t have much faith placed in them in meaningful ways. And reinforcing the power of creativity as a tool of communication.” Recent Bartlett High School graduate Victoria Arnold is assisting on the project; other local artists and teachers are also volunteering.
The facility houses some of Anchorage Community Mental Health Services‘ programs for transition age youth (ages 13-23), including Alaska Seeds of Change (AKSOC). AKSOC provides vocational training for at-risk youth in an indoor hydroponic vertical greenhouse. Other services within the building include a peer-run youth-drop in, street outreach and educational program, and clinical mental health services.
Volunteers are welcome to come Monday – Thursday afternoons from 12:00 to 6:30 at 704 W. 26th Avenue to help paint, or support the creative work with snacks and drinks. Members of the media are asked to call first before visiting (Jessica Cochran at 907-440-8047).

Media Contact:
Jessica Cochran
Director of Community Relations & Communications
Phone: 907-440-8047 or 907-261-5330
Email address:

About Sarah Davies: Sarah Davies is the award-winning artist behind the“100 Stone Project”, an installation of life-size statues installed at Point Woronzof in Anchorage in November and December 2015. The project raised awareness of suicide and mental health struggles and attracted followers from around the world. The installation followed a series of public engagement sessions around the state that created a space for people to share their stories in a physical way, and to feel connection to a community of creators. Ms. Davies currently teaches art at Bartlett High School in Anchorage.
About Alaska Seeds of ChangeAlaska Seeds of Change provides vocational training and employment opportunities for at-risk transition age youth through an indoor hydroponic greenhouse, while also producing fresh greens and herbs for Alaska year-round. The program began operations in December 2016. Youth involved in the program have access to mental health supports and other resources within the building.
About Anchorage Community Mental Health Services: ACMHS has been providing community-based outpatient mental health services in Anchorage for more than 40 years, and added services in Fairbanks in 2013. The company provides trauma-informed care for clients across the span of life.

Medicaid Rate Changes – open to public comment through August 8

Regulations affecting Medicaid Rates for SFY20

The Department of Health & Social Services proposes to make permanent regulation changes made by emergency regulation on Medicaid cost containment.

On June 28, 2019, the Department of Health & Social Services adopted, as an emergency regulation, changes in Title 7 of the Alaska Administrative Code dealing with Medicaid cost containment measures related to rates for Medicaid services, including the following:

  • 7 AAC 150. Prospective Payment System; Other Payment, is proposed to be changed as follows: Apply inflationary freeze and rate reductions on select Medicaid reimbursement rates.  Public Notice can be found here:
  • 7 AAC 145. Medicaid Payment Rates, is proposed to be changed as follows: (1) freeze inflation for non-primary care professional services, home and community-based waiver and personal care services, community behavioral health services, and targeted case management services; and (2) reduce reimbursement rates for non-primary case professional services, personal care services, community behavioral health services, applied behavioral analysis services, and transportation & accommodation services. Public Notice can be found here:

The emergency regulation takes effect on July 1, 2019, and will expire October 28, 2019. The Department of Health & Social Services intends to make the emergency regulation permanent.

You may comment on the regulation changes, including the potential costs to private persons of complying with the changes, by submitting written comments to Ms. Jamie Walker, Office of Rate Review, at 3601 C Street, Suite 978, Anchorage, AK 99503. Additionally, the Department of Health & Social Services will accept comments by electronic mail at The comments must be received not later than 5 p.m. on August 8, 2019.


Food and Fire: A joint event supporting youth

Food and Fire and 7th Annual Alaska Advanced Trauma Training Institute, June 13-14

NEWS RELEASE: May 31, 2019

Media Contact:
Jessica Cochran
Director of Community Relations & Communications
Phone: 907-440-8047 or 907-261-5330
Email address:

Seventh Annual Alaska Advanced Trauma Training Institute
June 13-14, 2019

Food and Fire: A joint event supporting youth: June 13, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
National and Alaska Experts come together to promote trauma-informed care

(Anchorage, Alaska) The Alaska Child Trauma Center at Anchorage Community Mental Health Services, Inc. is pleased to present the 7th Annual Alaska Advanced Trauma Training Institute, taking place at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage June 13-14, 2019. On the evening of June 13, attendees and the community are invited to learn more about two unique vocational training programs for transition age youth at Food and Fire: a Joint Event Supporting Youth.

Two internationally-known trauma experts are keynote speakers for this year’s conference. Dr. Anthony Mannarino, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents and Vice-Chair, Department of Psychiatry at Alleghany General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. He has been a leader in the field of child traumatic stress for 25 years, and is a co-developer of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, the leading evidence-based practice for treating children with a history of traumatic experiences. Dr. Brad Stolbach, Ph. D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Chicago. He’s spent more than twenty years developing programs and services for youth and families affected by trauma on Chicago’s south side. In 2015, he co-founded Project Fire (see below). Other conference speakers include Dr. Linda Chamberlain, Dr. Laverne Demienteff, Gennifer Moreau-Johnson of the Division of Behavioral Health, and Kristin Mortenson of ACMHS. A complete conference agenda is available here.

The June 13 evening event, Food and Fire, will include a flameworking demonstration by Chicago-based Project Fire, and a hydroponic greenhouse tour by youth staff from Alaska Seeds of Change. Participants will also be able to sample locally grown and harvested foods, as well as shop at an on-site pop-up market.

Project Fire assists youth who have been recent victims of gun violence on Chicago’s south side. Led by master glass artist Pearl Dick and co-creator Dr. Bradley Stolbach, youth are taught the artistic medium of flameworking and blown glass, which serves as a form of trauma therapy while providing youth with vocational skills and psychotherapy education to help them find healthier paths. At ACMHS’s Alaska Seeds of Change program, youth have the opportunity to learn vocational, business and independent living skills in an indoor hydroponic greenhouse setting. Through the youth-led program, fresh vegetables are grown and sold at local markets year-round. In adjacent space, ACMHS’s Alaska Youth Advocates runs a drop-in center where teens can access food and other resources, including educational groups and therapy for any mental health needs.

Tickets for Food and Fire are $30 and can be purchased online through Eventbrite.



About Anchorage Community Mental Health Services
ACMHS is a local non-profit that has been providing community-based mental health care services in the Anchorage area for more than 40 years, as well as in Fairbanks since 2013.



7th Annual Advanced Trauma Training Institute June 13-14, 2019

Registration is now full.


ACMHS Client Chip Ellis shares his journey toward wellness

A couple of months ago, we introduced you to Chip Ellis and his therapist, Stephen Washington. Everyone’s path to wellness is different. We’re proud of Chip for all the work he does to stay on his path, and grateful he is willing to share the story of his personal journey to wellness.


FY 18 ACMHS Annual Report is out!

The FY 18 Annual Report is now available!

FY 18 Annual Report



Talking to Children about Self-Harming Behaviors: Info for Parents/Caregivers

ACMHS’s Meghan Magone, program manager for the Parenting with Love and Limits program at ACMHS, recommends the following resources for parents/caregivers for talking to their children about self-harming behavior and suicide.

  • Local Crisis Line: 907-563-3200
  • National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Trevor Project Lifeline: 1-866-488-7386 – an LGBTQ specific hotline
  • LGBTQ youth talk and peer hotline: 1-888-843-4564

Coping with Self Harm Brochure_FINAL_copyright This guide features practical straightforward advice about how to begin a conversation with children about self-harming behavior. Ranges from “what is self-harm” to “managing self-harm injuries.” It is put out by Oxford department of psychiatry. (article: and the handout is within the article).

These suicide first aid guidelines put out by the Mental Health First Aide Australia address: what to do if someone is feeling suicidal? What are the signs? Preparing yourself to approach the talk. How to ask. What to do and what not to do. It was developed by experts from Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA, and Canada.  Families Suicide Prevention – Facts for Parents MHFA_suicide_guidelinesA4 2014 Revised

This information from Suicide Prevention Resource Center links to other useful resources:  Families

Meet Chip Ellis and Stephen Washington – a well-matched pair.

On a recent Friday morning, Chip Ellis and clinician Stephen Washington sat chatting in Stephen’s office at ACMHS, discussing favorite foods and other light topics, because I’m sitting there, after all.  Chip has been an ACMHS client for a few months.  Stephen is his second clinician at ACMHS because, Chip says, the right fit is important.  And it’s clear these two are a good fit – they talk easily and joke often.

Stephen arrived at his office early in the morning; he uses the time before client appointments to collect his thoughts and review his client’s treatment plans and goals.  He likes to begin every session with a plan for what to work on, leaving some time to talk about whatever may have come up.   Key to his approach with clients is to treat them with a great deal of respect; he says it’s one way to combat the stigma of mental illness.  [More on Stephen’s philosophy of care here.Link to Youtube.]

As for Chip, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia about 8 years ago, and also has agoraphobia, anxiety and depression.  It got so bad he literally ran down the street to a mental health clinic one day looking for help (he was living in Utah at the time).  He can no longer drive, due to hallucinations, and he’s chosen to maintain his stability by staying on his medication.  Regular sessions with Stephen to talk through things that come up help keep small issues from derailing his life. After 8 years, he finally feels like he’s making progress, and enjoying life more.

– Photos by Holley Stogsdill, story by Jessica Cochran

Parent Child Interaction Therapy now being offered at ACMHS!