Behavioral Health Services

Crisis Line 907-320-1520




Introduction: The Behavioral Health Department provides a variety of behavioral health services for individuals, families and communities in the Copper River Basin.  Our main offices are located at the Robert Marshall Building in Tazlina.  The department receives both state and federal funding.  Our state grants provide funding for Emergency Services, Substance Abuse & Mental Health treatment and our Alcohol Safety Action Program.  These services are available to all residents in the Copper River region.  Our federal Indian Health Service funding provides specific services to Alaska Natives and American Indians.  All services are provided in a professional and confidential manner by skilled staff.  What follows is a description of the services we provide, who is eligible and how to access our services.




Emergency Services: Two Master’s level Behavioral Health Clinicians are available 24/7 to respond to behavioral health emergencies such as suicide, extreme emotional distress, family crisis and psychiatric emergencies.  These services have saved lives and helped many people cope with major crisis in their lives.

  • Eligibility: Emergency services are available to all residents and visitors of the Copper River region.
  • How to Access Emergency Services


Monday thru Friday: During working hours from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. you can reach a clinician by calling our main office at 822-5241.  Inform the receptionist that you wish to speak with the on-call Emergency Services Clinician.  If a clinician is not available ask to speak to the Director.  If the Director is not available ask to speak to anyone in the Behavioral Health Department.  Someone will help you.


Evenings – Weekends – Holidays: Call 320-1520.  Our Crisis Line is available to respond to emergencies at all other times.  Most emergencies are handled over the phone but Clinicians occasionally respond in person when necessary.  If you are unable to reach a Clinician immediately you may leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible.


Other Options: If you are unable to speak with a clinician and need immediate assistance dial 911


Note: Our Clinicians are highly skilled but it is important to understand that we have only two people to cover a large area.  There may be times when they are attending to another crisis or are temporarily unavailable.  Our wait time is generally short but if you don’t feel you can wait do use the 911option.


Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services: These services include assessment, outpatient counseling, referrals for services not offered through CRNA, and follow up services as appropriate. We have two Addictions Counselors who provide education, and individual and group counseling for clients with substance abuse problems.  Our two Behavioral Health Counselors also provide individual, family and group counseling for clients with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health issues.

  • Eligibility: These services are available to all residents in all communities of the Copper River region.
  • How to Access these Services:


Intake: Call our main offices at 822-5241 and ask to speak to the Behavioral Health Intake Coordinator.  The Intake Coordinator will set an appointment time for you to come in to discuss your needs and gather some general information we need complete the intake process.  She will then schedule you for an assessment.


Assessment: The assessment process helps us understand your needs and determine the best course of treatment.  For example, sometimes people come in for substance abuse treatment but do not realize they are also suffering from depression or other problems that also need to be addressed.  Trying to treat one and not the other usually leads to poor results.


Outpatient Services: If your assessment determines that CRNA services would be beneficial, you will be assigned to a Counselor who will contact you to set regular appointment times for you to attend individual, group or family therapy sessions.  These are usually weekly, one hour sessions but may be more or less frequent depending upon your needs.


Psychiatric Assessments, Prescriptions & Medication Monitoring: We have two systems in place to help clients who may require medication.  An itinerant psychiatrist is available onsite each month to see clients.  We also have a contract with the Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API) where clients experiencing psychiatric difficulties can interact with a psychiatrist at API through our poly-com system for psychiatric assessments and referrals.


Case Management: These services are provided to clients who need assistance in accessing other services outside of the substance abuse and/or mental health services we provide.  For example, someone coping with a serious mental illness or recovering from substance abuse may need help accessing health services or affordable housing.  Our counselors do their best to help in these instances.


Outreach Services: Outreach services are provided to outlying communities where clients may not have the ability to travel to our main offices. We are currently providing outreach services to Chistochina, Slana, and Mentasta and are planning to expand these services to the Southern end of the region to communities such as Chitina, McCarthy and Kenny Lake.  These services function in the same manner as those provided at the Robert Marshall Building but are provided at clinic locations in outlying communities.


Referral & Aftercare: Your assessment may also result in a referral for services that we don’t provide through CRNA.  For example, some people with substance abuse problems may need inpatient treatment to halt the addictive process.  Others may need specialized mental health care that we do not provide.  Our job is to help determine what services you need and to help you access them.  Clients who receive inpatient treatment often need follow up care through outpatient services to continue their recovery upon return to the community.  CRNA’s outpatient services provide a bridge back to the community.


Discharge and Follow Up: When clients have completed treatment they complete a discharge plan that outlines the activities they will engage in to help them continue their recovery.  Often they will receive a card or a call just to check in and to make sure they know they are welcome to access additional services if necessary.


Behavioral Health Aide Program: This program is funded through a small grant from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.  It provides part time services for Behavioral Health Aides in CRNA’s 5 Compacted Villages.  While the original goal of the program was to provide “A Counselor in Every Village” for remote  villages in
Alaska, in reality most of what BHAs do is provide prevention services and activities in their communities.  None of the BHAs in our region are providing formal counseling services or billing for their services.  There has been an ongoing debate as to how the program can be changed to better address the needs of our communities.  Recently one of our villages has redesigned the program and changed the BHA job description to a Wellness Advocate position that places less emphasis on “counseling” services, allows their staff to provide a wider range of health and wellness services to the community, and gives the community more of a direct role in supervising the position.


We believe the new Wellness Advocate position better serves our communities and are offering this as an alternative to our other villages.

  • Eligibility: These services are only available to the 5 compacted villages of Copper River Native Association.
  • How to Access these Services: If your village is interested in adopting the new Wellness Advocate model please contact the BH Department.


Adult & Juvenile Alcohol Safety Action Plan Program: This program services as a liaison between offenders and the Alaska State Court System.  Juveniles and adults convicted of substance abuse and related crimes are often required by the court to complete an assessment and follow any recommended treatment programs designed to address underlying problems that led to their arrest and avoid any further convictions.  The ASAP Coordinator meets with clients to discuss their case, refers them to substance abuse and/or mental health clinicians for assessments.  Recommendations from the assessments typically vary from educational classes, outpatient treatment or in some cases inpatient treatment.  The ASAP Coordinator follows the case to ensure the client completes recommended treatment and reports regularly to the court until the case is discharged.


Note:  ASAP or JASAP services can be very helpful but it is the client’s responsibility to check in with the Coordinator and follow the directions of the court and treatment services.  You must do your part to help yourself.

  • Eligibility: These services are available to all residents in all communities of the Copper River region.
  • How to Access these Services: The court will provide you with paperwork referring you to the ASAP or JASAP Coordinator.


Social Marketing: This is a new project funded through a small grant from Indian Health Service.  The goal is to provide outreach services to enlist tribal participation in identifying problem behaviors to target for change or positive behaviors to increase.  Once the target behavior is identified, a social marketing campaign is developed to use a variety of media sources to help people change the behavior.  Social marketing is a strategy that is being used by national organizations, cities and other groups successfully to address issues like reducing tobacco use, child molestation and other problems or to increase healthy diets and exercise to prevent obesity and heart disease.  We are learning as we go and are working with an IHS Consultant who is guiding us through the steps.

  • Eligibility: These services are only available to the 5 compacted villages of Copper River Native Association.
  • How to Access these Services: Contact the BH Department.


Tobacco Prevention: This program provides Tobacco Education and Prevention services. This is a state grant that is administered through Kodiak Area Native Association.  CRNA subcontracts through KANA to provide services to the Copper River region.  The Tobacco Program Coordinator places ads on the radio and in the newspaper, makes presentations in communities and almost always has a booth or information for people at events in the region.  We are in the process of expanding our services to include smoking cessation groups and other services to help people quit.

  • Eligibility: These services are available to all residents and communities in the Copper River region.
  • How to Access these Services: Contact the BH Department.


Payee Services: These services are for clients who need assistance in managing their financial affairs.  CRNA does not receive funds for providing these services but believes it is a vital service for those in need thus it is funded through the Indian Health Services Compact.

  • Eligibility: These services are only available to Native beneficiaries of the 5 compacted villages of Copper River Native Association.
  • How to Access these Services: Contact the BH Department.


Fees for Services: Fees for Native Beneficiaries are generally covered under IHS funds, other than those who are court orders.  For all others we accept Medicaid, Medicare, Denali Kid Care, and some if not most insurance coverage.  We also have a sliding fee scale so that services are affordable to everyone.  Regardless of your situation no one is refused services due to inability to pay.


Behavioral Health Practice Manager

Sandy Black

Behavioral Health Clinical Director

Tom Wekenman

Behavioral Health Administrative Assistant

Joann Pitka

Tobacco Prevention & Education

Sheila Hurst

Addictions Counselor / Wellness Program Manager

Angel Craig

Juvenile ASAP Coordinator/ Case Manager

Crystal Killian

Case Manager/ Addictions Counselor

Sharon Tyone

Wellness Advocates



Shonda Gene

Glenda Sinyon

Dorothy Shinn

Grace Voyles

“CRNA is a Tobacco Free Organization”