GBHWC gets $3.6M federal grant

Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center is anticipating a big rush of referrals for students when they return for face-to-face instruction in August. (PNC file photo)

The Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Health’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, known as SAMHSA.

The grant will provide GBHWC a total of $736,000 annually for the next five years in order to fund the “Guam Focus on Life” project.

The goal of the “Guam Focus on Life” project is to reduce suicide on Guam by providing direct services through intervention and post-intervention skills.

For the next five years, GBHWC will be seeking to break the stigma on mental health and promote help-seeking behaviors through the following three fundamental goals:

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.

“Suicide is one of the top five 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.

Committed to achieving the objectives of GOFL, the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center will train 500 natural helpers to identify and refer at-risk youth to the appropriate services through evidence-based programs. The project will invest in at least three evidence-based programs that will normalize coping skills and increase help-seeking behavior among at-risk youth, specifically those in the Guam Department of Education.

The Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center is located in Tamuning and is Guam’s only public mental health and substance abuse agency. GBHWC offers child outpatient services through I Famagu’on-ta; healthy transition services for young adults through Project Tulaika; adult outpatient services; Professional Support Services (Psychological, Psychiatric, and Pharmacy); outpatient drug & alcohol services through New Beginnings; residential recovery homes/services; child inpatient, adult inpatient and medication clinic services; sexual assault and abuse services through Healing Hearts Crisis Center; and Prevention and Training services through P.E.A.C.E.