Trio of suicides leaves Alaska village in grief

ANCHORAGE — An entire village on Alaska’s western coast is grieving the back-to-back suicides of three young adults —with each subsequent death influenced by the preceding one.

A regional tribal health organization is sending a suicide-response team to Hooper Bay next week in what essentially will be a community debriefing.

But in a region with disproportionately steep rates of suicide, responders already traveled to the Yup’ik Eskimo community of nearly 1,200 this week, saying it’s crucial to offer support and keep an eye out for any others who may be vulnerable.

The first death occurred Sept. 24 with the suicide of a 26-year-old man. Alaska State Troopers say the second death occurred Oct. 2 and involved a 24-year-old man who was despondent over his friend’s suicide. Two days later, a 20-year-old woman reportedly distraught over the 24-year-old’s death died in an apparent suicide.

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