$3.7M grant aims to reduce suicide on Guam

The Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center shown in this Post file photo

The Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center has been awarded $3.68 million to fund Project Guam Focus on Life that aims to reduce suicide on Guam by providing direct services through intervention and post-intervention skills.

The grant, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), will provide $736,000 annually for the next 5 years.

"Suicide is one of the top 5 leading causes of death on Guam and this grant is so welcomed. The Department is here to bring the much-needed training to better identify those struggling with suicide thoughts and get them the help they need. One person feeling so alone enough to take their own life is one person too many." said GBHWC Director Theresa Arriola.

Project Guam Focus on Life seeks to:

1) Increase the number of at-risk youth who openly seek help from natural helpers and appropriate behavioral health services when experiencing grief and feelings of pain and loss, or having suicidal thoughts and behaviors; 

2) Transform GBHWC’s culture and services to achieve excellence in providing patient safety and safer suicide care; and

3) Facilitate the collaboration among Guam’s youth-serving providers to ensure safe and effective response to individuals at risk for suicide. 

Arriola said the federal funding will allow GBHWC to train 500 natural helpers to identify and refer at-risk youth to the appropriate services through evidence-based programs and implement evidence-based programs to help youth with coping skills and increase help seeking behavior among at-risk youth, especially those in the Guam public school system.

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