As a child growing up in rural Alaska, Vera Starbard was diagnosed with major depression. She’d been sexually abused by her uncle and was plagued by thoughts of suicide. By the age of 10, she’d already spent time as an inpatient in a psychiatric hospital. “It was a really dark time,” she says. “And I didn’t feel like it was ever going to get better.”
But when she was 11, things changed. Her family moved to Anchorage, and they joined the Southcentral Foundation, a health care provider for native Alaskans. The foundation was launching a new approach to health care—one that wove mental health into the rest of its primary care.
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