Champion dog sled musher speaks about suicide

Ramy Brooks, a champion dog sled musher, is speaking publicly about his past to raise awareness of depression and suicide among Alaska Natives

Brooks, who is Yupik and Athabascan, struggled with depression as a teen and tried to commit suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills at the age of 16. He also contemplated shooting himself. He said his stepfather was an alcoholic and an abuser.

"I sat with a loaded gun in my lap thinking about it for two weeks," he said at the First Alaskans Institute Youth and Elders Convention, The Anchorage Daily News reported. "But I couldn't bring myself to do it."

Brooks combated his problems in his 20s by following his dream of becoming a sled musher. He is speaking out at age 36 because suicide rates among Alaska Natives are twice the national average and five times the state average in certain rural areas. He is working with the Alaska Mental Health Trust.

Get the Story:
Musher retells suicidal thoughts to save youths in unhealthy lives (The Anchorage Daily News 12/2)

Relevant Links:
Alaska Mental Health Trust -
First Alaskans Institute -

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