Report: Western Alaska Residents Citing Mental Health Concerns Over Salmon Shortages

Interesting piece from the Alaska Beacon on the mental health effects residents seem to be suffering from as Western Alaska’s salmon crisis worsens.

Here’s some information on the concerns. They came up during a hearing last week with Tribal entities and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska):

Among those testifying was Dan Winkelman, president of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp., the Tribal organization that is the region’s main health provider. Friday’s event was held at the organization’s Bethel headquarters.

Lack of salmon, Winkelman said, “is not just negatively affecting our culture and well-being but our good health,” he said.

He ticked off the numerous well-known nutritional benefits of salmon. It is a complete, high-quality protein that builds lean body mass and helps people’s bodies function correctly, he said. It is rich in Omega-3 fatty acid and essential minerals key to heart health, brain health, immune function and control of inflammation, he said. It is a nutrient-dense food that helps people maintain healthy body weights and avoid diet-related health problems, he said.

For these and other reasons, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has recommended that people eat at least two servings a week of fish like salmon, Winkelman said. In the past, with widespread daily consumption of salmon, residents of the region easily met that recommendation, he said.