Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center offers 24-hr crisis hotline and other suicide prevention services


The holiday season is usually known as a time for joy and celebration but for some, it can be a time of depression which can in turn lead to suicide. PNC spoke with the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center about suicide prevention.

Guam – During the holidays, things like unrealistic expectations, financial pressures, and other factors can cause increased stress, anxiety and even depression. This in turn can increase the risks for suicide.

GBHWC Lead Project Coordinator for suicide prevention Debbie Duenas says, “Being withdrawn, loss of appetite not communicating with family members lack of sleep or maybe too much sleep. Giving away possessions or even just talking about it. Simply stating ‘things are so rough’ ‘I can’t take it anymore’ I just don’t want to be here.’ Notating down whether its drawings or poems or letters about death and dying. Those are some of the things that we ask people to really look out for.”

But it doesn’t always have to be typical signs of depression that warn of a suicide. Sometimes when a person has made the decision to commit suicide he or she may feel relieved and even happier. Duenas says this is why they encourage family members and friend to look out for anything out of the ordinary for example if the person has been depressed and is suddenly in a good mood.

So, what do you do once you notice these signs? GBHWC Supervisor of Prevention and Training Linda Flynn explained saying, “I think that they should talk to the family member. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask if they are planning to commit suicide. They can be direct because generally if people have made that plan they will actually be forthcoming and they will say it.” If that does happen ask the person to see a private or public provider for help or have him or her call the 24-hour crisis hotline at 647-8833. “They can also bring the person to the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center which is right in Tamuning next to the Guam Memorial Hospital and we can provide assessment for them and talk to the individual and see where they’re at.”

The Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center offers other services along with their 24-hour crisis hotline. “Some of the things that we do is we go out into the community and we will respond to situations where there may have been the death of a loved one or it could be in a school situation and we go out and we ask individuals if they would like services. How they are doing, how their family members are doing and we let them know that we here in my office we offer grief counseling. We provide referrals to the main office if people feel that their loved ones are more at risk because of a response to what has happened to a tragedy. We will also go out and do a lot of education and training,” said Flynn.

During the holidays they run a holiday helpline from December 24th to December 26th and from December 31st to January 2nd, 2018. “The number is 647-8833 and we encourage those out there that may not be feeling the holiday spirit to call that number and that there are people behind that line that are there for you,” said Duenas.

“We just like to encourage people to not feel uncomfortable or embarrassed to know that we really are there to help them. That there should be no stigma attached and that it’s really the smart thing to do and for those that you love that you care about when you recognize that there’s something wrong and they’re going through something difficult you want to be able to provide that help. So, don’t hesitate to ask them and to be willing to go with them to get that help,” said Duenas.

Again the number for the 24-hour crisis hotline is 647-8833.