Pacific Island Suicide Prevention Awareness Youth Group
Supporting Our Communities

Pacific Island Suicide Prevention Awareness using culture as a key to prevent suicide

The GCI Suicide Prevention Fund has distributed approximately $800,000 to Alaska nonprofits since 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Many Pacific Islanders now call Alaska home, but sometimes being far from the traditional homes of Pacific Island culture can be challenging. To help overcome these challenges, the Polynesian Association of Alaska is working to educate Pacific Island families about the differences between traditional and contemporary cultural beliefs by closely working with parents and children through its Pacific Island Suicide Prevention Awareness initiative.

“The Pacific Island community believes in hard love. While growing up in the islands, we know our parents love us very much, but they don't show that love to their kids. This project benefited our PI families as they learn and understand how to talk to and discipline their kids,” said Lucy Hansen, Executive Director of the Polynesian Association of Alaska. “It opened their eyes and understanding on how to provide love and affection to their kids; how to communicate with the kids; how to give a chance for their kids to speak their mind.”

The Pacific Island Suicide Prevention Awareness program believes that educating parents is key to lowering the rates of suicide. The cultural difference of growing up in the islands and growing up in the city can be hard to grasp, but through community prevention events they hope to bridge that gap. They also have translated documents, fliers, and books into their native language for those who speak English as a second language.

The program was one of 13 supported in 2023 through the GCI Suicide Prevention Fund as part of the company’s ongoing effort to combat suicide and promote mental health awareness in Alaska.

“Programs like Pacific Island Suicide Prevention Awareness are the reason the GCI Suicide Prevention Fund is so important,” said GCI Gives Senior Manager Tiffany Vassar. “The goal is to reduce rates of suicide in Alaska and promote mental wellness and what better way to do that then get the youth and parents involved.”

Each year since 2016, the GCI Suicide Prevention Fund has provided $100,000 to support initiatives and organizations dedicated to preventing suicide and offering support to those affected by it. Past recipients have made significant strides in suicide prevention and mental health awareness and have profoundly impacted individuals and communities across the state. From offering evidence-based prevention training to networking opportunities for veterans through outdoor activities, these initiatives have fostered resilience, provided critical resources and helped reduce stigma around mental health.

GCI partners with The Alaska Community Foundation (ACF) to administer the GCI Suicide Prevention grant. Grant requests may be for up to $10,000 per organization. In 2024 GCI expects to award $100,000 in total grants. All awarded projects are required to be completed within one calendar year from the date the grant is awarded. The application deadline is June 14, 2024. You can find more information and apply here.

About GCI

Headquartered in Alaska, GCI provides data, mobile, video, voice and managed services to consumer, business, government, and carrier customers throughout Alaska, serving more than 200 communities. The company has invested more than $4 billion in its Alaska network and facilities over the past 40 years and recently launched true standards-based 5G NR service in Anchorage, now the nation’s northernmost 5G service area. Learn more about GCI at GCI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Broadband Corporation (Nasdaq: LBRDA, LBRDK, LBRDP). Learn more about Liberty Broadband at