Barrow Archives - StoryCorps
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They Know Suicide Too Well. But One Moment Brought Them Solace

Friends Qaiyaan Harcharek and Don Rearden grew up in small Alaskan towns hundreds of miles apart. But they both have experienced a great deal of tragedy: Alaska has some of the highest suicide rates in the nation, especially in its indigenous and rural communities.

They met as adults when Don visited Qaiyaan’s hometown Utqiagvik, the northernmost town in the U.S. They bonded over their love of Alaskan culture and wilderness — And their grief. At StoryCorps, they remembered a moment in their friendship that brought them even closer.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide or is in crisis, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired March 15, 2024 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Top Photo: Don Rearden and Qaiyaan Harcharek pose with fossilized mammoth ivory in Utqiagvik, AK on July 10, 2018. By Joe Yelverton.
Middle Photo: Qaiyaan Harcharek in Utqiagvik, AK on July 10, 2018. By Joe Yelverton.
Bottom Photo: Don Rearden and Qaiyaan Harcharek in Utqiagvik, AK on July 10, 2018. By Joe Yelverton.