Senator-Elect Yamashita Calls on GovGuam Leaders to Extend Mental Health Deadline

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Guam – Senator-elect Aline Yamashita, PhD is calling for the island’s current and incoming leadership to request a federal judge to allow the public time to review a multi-million dollar plan for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

US District Court Judge Consuelo Marshall recently ordered the government of Guam to give Mental Health $15.9 million to implement the plan. The first payment of $2 million is due next week by 30 November 2010, but Yamashita’s concern is the lack of stakeholder input to ensure the plan is sustainable and that it will fully address all concerns.

Read Yamashita’s Letter to Governor Camacho

“While immediate action is needed for those of us with mental health concerns, we have a responsibility to ensure that the plan has wide, thoughtful input from customers, clients, taxpayers, and professionals throughout the field,” Yamashita writes in her letter. “It is disconcerting that a federal team and two on-island people crafted a plan that purports to address our issues. Broad stakeholder involvement is needed to ensure that this plan is how our island will invest $15.9 million.”

Yamashita sent her letters today to Governor Felix Camacho and Lt. Governor Michael Cruz as well as Governor-elect Eddie Calvo and Lt. Governor-elect Ray Tenorio requesting that they ask Judge Marshall to allow their leadership to be more engaged in the plan and at least a month for community stakeholders to review the plan and provide input.