GDOE, GCC and Private Schools Counselors and Staff Trained for Suicide Postvention


Guam – On November 15, 2013, twenty-three (23) counselors, administrators and other staff from the Guam Department of Education, Guam Community College, Santa Barbara Catholic School, San Vicente Catholic School and St. Anthony Catholic School completed a six-hour suicide postvention training.

Connect is a designated national best practice program developed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness – New Hampshire (NAMI-NH).  This training helps individuals identify and mobilize available suicide prevention resources to reduce the risks of suicide among community members affected by a sudden death.  Monthly Connect trainings will be hosted by the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center’s Prevention and Training Branch for Education, Law Enforcement and Social Services personnel.

A suicide death can cause devastating impact, from a family to a community. The shock and grief affects friends, co-workers, classmates and others. In July 2013, the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center-Prevention and Training branch hosted a training of trainers for the Connect Suicide Postvention Training.  Eighteen (18) individuals on Guam gained certification as Connect trainers, allowing local implementation of three course curriculums for Education, Law Enforcement, and Social Services personnel.

November marked the first of the monthly Connect trainings on Guam. On November 15th, twenty-three (23) counselors, nurses and administrators completed suicide postvention training, representing various public and private schools in the elementary, middle, high school and college level. GDOE’s Office for Student Support Services was also represented. The training team included Southern High School counselor Carmen Garrido, FBLG Middle School counselor Mary Bais and GCC Program Specialist John Payne.

“We are grateful for GDOE’s leadership in this training. Participants learned how to coordinate a comprehensive response in the aftermath of a suicide. It is our hope that in the event of a sudden death, they feel more prepared and able to respond to the needs of their students and staff,” shared Deborah Duenas, GBHWC’s coordinator for theConnect training.

Through Connect, suicide prevention is integrated into postvention services. GBHWC Prevention and Training supervisor Bobbie Benavente adds: “Losing someone by suicide is a painful experience. For those who survive suicide loss, a reliable support system is essential to their grieving and coping. By immediately mobilizing postvention services and resources for these survivors, we decrease the risks that might lead them to thoughts of suicide.” Furthermore, Benavente points out that the training establishes and strengthens the relationship among participants. “We are all resources in our own capacities. Our community will benefit most if we work more cohesively.”

The next Connect training is scheduled on December 27, 2013, targeted for Social Services providers. Seating is limited. For registration or other information, contact the GBHWC Prevention and Training branch at 477-9079 thru 9083 or visit

July 25, 2013 – Eighteen (18) individuals, each representing various sectors of the community, were certified as trainers for Connect Postvention Training. Throughout FY 2014, at least one Connect training will be held through the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center-Prevention and Training Branch.



November 15, 2013 – Twenty-three (23) counselors, nurses and administrators participated in the first Connect Postvention Training, representing the Guam Department of Education, Guam Community College, San Vicente Catholic School, Sta. Barbara Catholic School and St. Anthony Catholic School.



November 15, 2013 – The Education curriculum on the Connect Postvention Training was facilitated by (L—R) FBLG Counselor Mary Bais, GCC Project Specialist John Payne and Southern High School Counselor Carmen Garrido.