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  • By Bruce Llloyd

May declared Mental Health Awareness month on Guam

It's likely that few who live on Guam realize the scope and scale of the problems in the category of mental health suffered by many, due in part to the stigma that has long been attached to this area of human existence.

Fortunately, the problems have been more accurately recognized in the modern era and numerous professionals work every day to resolve them. One means to inform the public and what is going on and to overcome ancient prejudices has been the establishment in 1949 of the "Mental Health Awareness Month."

Sen. Terlaje, Guam Behavioral Health & Wellness Center Director Theresa Arriola, GBHWC Deputy Director Carissa Pangelinan

At the Guam Legislature, Sen. Therese M. Terlaje emphasized to gathered professionals from various agencies and entities, among them the Guam Department of Education, the University of Guam and Catholic Social Services, that they have the support of lawmakers in getting the needed work done. "I'm sure that at various times it's difficult, not just for you, but also for your families and your friends," said Terlaje, "but it probably takes someone with a very big heart and a lot of dedication and willingness to work very, very hard. So I thank you again."

Sen. Amanda Shelton read from the resolution which gives an idea of the range of the problem, starting with the lead agency:

"The Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, in its mission to 'provide culturally respectful, quality behavioral health services, that support and strengthen the well-being of the persons served, their families and the community in a safe environment,' offers numerous programs and clinical services, which includes Child Adolescent Services, Community Support Services, Day Treatment Services, the Crisis Hotline, Emergency Impatient Services, Psychological and Psychiatric Services, the Residential Recovery Program, and training and education through the (PEACE) office that hosts trainings, technical assistance and educational opportunities for program managers, community leaders, and youth and adult volunteers on enhancing and promoting mental wellness to reduce and prevent alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, and other correlated problems. Trainings include: Substance Abuse (Drug-Free Workplace) Training for supervisors and employees; Anger Management.

And that's only part of the varied missions of these workers. Suicide prevention is a big area as is grief recovery and a range of support groups for individuals such as widows.


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