Social work conference hopes to address rise in behavioral problems among youth

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Guam – With an increase in behavioral health issues among Guam’s youth, social workers and practitioners are hoping to address this and others concerns within the community during its annual Social Work Regional Training Conference.

The theme this year is Strengthening Human Security with Interdependence, Mutual Respect and Social Care, or in Chamorro: Para U Nina’låmetgot I Seguridåt, Tinaotao Nu I Inafa’maolek, Fina’Taotao, yan Inadáhi.

Dr. Keith Horinouchi, who specializes in wellness through lifestyle and nutritional medicine, is one of the keynote speakers for this event. He says that in the 22 years he’s been practicing on Guam, he’s seen an increase in behavioral health issues among Guam’s youth and in the adult population as well.

“When I saw the title for the conference, I felt that I think I should participate, just from my own personal experiences with my patients,” said Dr. Horinouchi. “My clinic is dealing with wellness and including a lot of children where I thought that that might be a vulnerable group where their security might be at stake.”

National Association of Social Work Chapter Guam Representative Mike Acosta says the goal of the conference is for social workers and other stakeholders to collaborate on ways to improve the services provided and to identify those who would be better served by their purpose.

And it’s not just Guam, Acosta says they’ll also be studying methods used throughout the world.

“With the constant turmoil that’s happening around the world, Middle East, the refugee crisis in Rohingya, refugees, the lack of sufficient adequate healthcare, the constant growing drug abuse in the communities–as social workers, it is our duty to gather together and collaborate and come up with ways and better solutions for the people, for the marginalized, for the oppressed, for those who are in need. So the main point of this conference is to establish that,” said Acosta.

The conference begins Thursday and continues Friday at the Westin Resort Guam from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and ends on Sunday with an awards dinner.

For more information about this conference, visit naswguam.org.