Alaska Mental Health Trust History Project Jukebox

The Oral History Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (The Trust) are proud to announce the completion of the Alaska Mental Health Trust History Project Jukebox, available online at http://jukebox.uaf.edu/mentalhealth. This project includes interviews with twenty-nine individuals talking about the history of mental health services in Alaska ranging from the early days when people were sent to Morningside Hospital in Oregon, the legal battle and settlement over the management of the state‚Äôs mental health trust program, and changes in the delivery of mental health services through time. Themes discussed include: litigation and settlement; land selection and valuation; Morningside Hospital; psychiatry in Alaska; understanding mental illness; advocacy for Alaska’s mentally ill; Harborview Developmental Center in Valdez; Alaska Psychiatric Institute in Anchorage; and creation of The Trust.

The story about the civil rights of those with mental disabilities in Alaska, the development of a system of care to treat them, and establishment and responsibilities of the Alaska Mental Health Trust is a little-known aspect of Alaska history. It is also a land rights story of how the State took control of its land from the federal government and began to shape its own destiny, determining how the land would be managed and for what purposes. These stories, many of which have only been known by the individuals who took part in the early days of treating and caring for Alaska’s mentally ill, have never been considered popular enough to be presented in Alaska history classes alongside the signing of our state constitution. However, they are equally important foundations on which the state was built. Now, Project Jukebox has preserved these stories and made them accessible to the public.

This project is supported by funding from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, and the Alaska Humanities Forum through the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal agency. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For more information about this project, please contact:
Karen Brewster at the Project Jukebox Office, karen.brewster@alaska.edu, (907) 474-6672
Vivian Hamilton, Chief Communications Officer, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, vivian.hamilton@alaska.gov, (907) 334-2531

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