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Formerly the Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse
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Si Yu'os Ma'ase!
"That more Caring Communities will be visible throughout the island promoting positive mental health and healthy lifestyle through prevention and education strategies and;
That the practice of ensuring delivery of mandated mental health services reflects collaborative engagement and a Standard of Excellence".
Famous Names and Mental Health
Hagåtña, Guam – The following message is addressed to the community of Guam; a call to action to lead positive changes to stop suicide and prevent substance abuse among our people. These letters talk about the core principles that will be used as foundation for the Gathering of Pacific Islanders for Prevention Education and Community Empowerment (GOPEACE) on July 30-31, 2013 at the Westin Resort Guam. GOPEACE aims to unite our community in a holistic approach to prevention. We belong to one community. We each have a mastery of knowledge and skills. We are interdependent on each other and our island. We are a generous people. Together, we can be the change for a healthier island community!
This event is hosted by the Prevention and Training branch of the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center. For registration or other information, contact 477-9079 thru 9083 or visit www.peaceguam.org.
A Message to the People of Guam:
Let us Gather and Lead the Change to
Stop Suicide and Prevent Substance Abuse
It is with great pleasure to invite you to the 2013 Gathering of Pacific Islanders for PEACE. This two-day event will captivate your heart as we venture on this journey of community healing and empowerment. Together, we will roll up our sleeves and work as community partners to address the major concerns our island people face. We will share stories about our lives as Pacific Island peoples and about the things that we value and hold close to our hearts. We may even talk about our pain, struggles, survival and hope to improve the quality of life for our families and community.
Suicide and substance abuse affects many lives and it may be about us that we speak about, or our loved ones. As traumatic and life changing as these issues may be, we as Pacific Islanders have proven to be amazingly resilient. Our islands are prone to be in the path of many natural disasters that we have endured for many years, yet we are able to survive those storms. We can survive storms within because we are crafted to be survivors. It is essential for us to listen and observe what is going on with our families and in our communities. We must make a conscious effort to think about how our personal lives are impacted and what we feel when our cultural values are put to the test.
GOPI is the beginning of our affirmation, that we are worthy as individuals, as a people, and as a community. It is only then when we have the courage to tell our stories and begin to feel a sense of belonging; feel like we have something of value to offer; feel like it is safe to share what is in our hearts and in our thoughts, without judgment. We could depend on one another, and we could generously give of ourselves.
Through the GOPI experience, I believe that each of us will go back into our homes, our villages, and our whole island community with a fresh perspective, a heart of courage, and the ability to make a difference. Your involvement and commitment in this two day conference is extremely valuable; please join us. You are worthy!
PEACE Council Chair
Aramas meinisin won ei fenufan mi pachengeni eu me eu mwichen aramas. Lon pekin ututun neuch samwol en lon government, ekkoch ra pachengeni eu pekin, nge ekkoch ra pachengeni ewe epek. Lon pekin mwichefel, ekkoch ra pachengeni mwichefelin Catholic, nge ekkoch ra pachengeni Protestant. Lon pekin family, emon me emon mi alea lon en me an family. A men auchea an emon aramas epwe mefi chengelin are pwapwan pachengeni eu mwich.
Lupwen emon aramas a kattiw me lone eu mwich, a fokkun wor menomenoch, allilis fengen, me tumun fengen. Lupwn emon aramas a aimuseni are touu seni ewe mwich, ese chuen wor menomenoch, allilis me tumun. A wewe ngeni efoch ira mi fokkun watte. Palan ewe ira meinisin mi manau lupwen ir mi chok pachengeni ewe pwopun, nge lupwen ra pekuelo seni ewe pwopun, ra mengulo are ra malo. Ewe pwopun epwe chok memenau, ina mwo ika pwe ekkewe palan ra pekulo seni. Lon pwisin manauwei, ise mefi ewe chengelin are pwapwan pachengeni tori ewe ran ngang ia churi ewe Samol. Ia atiwa I pwe epwe Samolun manauwei, nemeni manauwei, me tongen manauwei. Ia fokkun luku lon an tong me tumunuoch ngeniei. Ia pwal pwoputa pachengeni mwichefel are ekkewe mwich mi pwal luku lon ewe Samol. Iei atun wa mefi ewe chengelin are pwapwan pachengeni. Ia fili ewe Samol Sises Christ pwe I ewe pwopun ira lon manauwei, nge ngang efoch ekkewe palan ira.
A men fokkun auchea ngeni aramas ese lifilifil repwe achocho pachengeni ar family are eu mwichen aramas pwe repwe mefi ewe chengelin are pwapwan pachengeni. Pun ewe mwichen aramas a fis pwe eu lenien alilis fengen are tumun fengen. Ai anean are pesepes pwe amwo meinisin seni kukun tori chinnap repwe pachengeni ar family, pwal kuta eu mwich are mwichefel epwe tongeni alisir me tumunur pwe repwe mefi ewe pwapwan are chengelin pachengeni.
Everybody on the face of the earth belongs to one group of people or another. Some belong to the Democratic Party, and some the Republican Party. Some belong to the Catholic Church and some the Christian Church. Some belong to one family from birth and some another family. It is very essential that one has the sense of belonging.
When one is accepted into a group of people, he/she is now part of that group. He/she has the security, and support from that group he/she now belongs to. When one isolates himself/herself from the group the sense of security and support is gone. For example, imagine a big tree; all the branches of the tree belong on the tree trunk. Without the tree trunk the branches die. The branches need to remain connected to the tree trunk in order to stay alive and belong. The tree trunk does not need the branches to stay alive. In my own experience, I did not feel the sense of belonging until the day I met the Lord and made Him the Lord, Leader and Love of my life. I started to believe in His love and care for me as an individual. I started to connect with a group of people who have the same focus. That’s where I got my security and sense of belonging. I chose the Lord Jesus Christ as the tree trunk in my life and I am one of the branches.
It is very important to stay connected to family and/or a group of people in order to have the sense of belonging; to stay alive inside. The group we belong to will continue on with or without us. I hope that in the near future more and more people, both young and old, will remain connected to their family, and also find a group of people/organization that will support, encourage, and uplift them in any way possible to have the sense of belonging, and stay alive inside.
ONANIA SNIVELY, Carecell
St. Paul Assembly of God Church
All societies embrace cultural approaches to healing and nurturing group or individual trauma or tribulations. The CHamoru Society is no exception.
I am Toni Ramirez. I was born in 1951. I am currently sixty-two (62) years old. I have lived most of life on Guam with the exception of seven (7) years while I was studying abroad in California and Hawaii. My cultural identity is CHamoru. This cultural identity reference was embedded in me through my parents, Florencio and Josefina. Through their guidance and examples, I identify my cultural values and traditions as CHamoru values and way of life.
Everyone, no exception, through their human growth and development begins at home. Home is where everyone begins their story. Home is where everyone’s journey in life begins! What I learned from being CHamoru enables me to understand, to cope and to resolve everyday human situations. These situations vary in degree but I learned that situational problems, trauma and tribulations, are resolvable.
I have three (3) CHamoru cultural observations that are life-long guidelines to life. The first is never become a “slave” to what gives you pleasure. This is where addictions become reality rather than control. This is especially with drugs. In the beginning one has control, until one day one becomes a slave whereby saying “no” becomes difficult.
My second observation as a CHamoru is segmentation of place. When I first went to school, I was told that it was also your home and not a separate institution. Respect at home must also be observed in school. Your teachers were not just your teachers; they are also your parents. This segmentation of place must never be adhered to!
My third observation as CHamoru is where one learns influence. Being CHamoru, I come from an “Extended Family System.” My maternal and paternal “Saina” (CHamoru elders) were also my parents. They were responsible for guiding and assisting me in correcting my failures.
Since I could remember, I have embraced and observed these three (3) observations and realities. When I observe the CHamoru cultural changes today, it saddens me that these basic and core CHamoru cultural values seems so absent in today’s CHamoru youth.
Finally, and coming from my mother’s words, she would say, “Love that which is worth loving, Care for that which is worth caring for, and worry about that which is worth worrying about!” Life is a journey, and everyone’s journey begins at home! Truly our culture and traditions give us ways to deal and cope with everyday life situations. The journey is not always smooth but if we tried, there is no limit to life’s resolutions! We live to master life!
I am a survivor; I am a father who has lost a son to suicide.
I am writing this message about how I am dealing with the tragic loss of a loved one and how my story can relate to the word “interdependence”, which is the third core value of the Gathering of Pacific Islanders (GOPI) concept.
After my son Corey’s death, I felt this strong drive deep inside of me to understand what happened and why this happened; to do something to prevent another suicide from happening again on Guam. I longed and searched for the knowledge about suicide prevention. I wanted to be prepared to successfully intervene should someone, anyone, who may be contemplating taking his or her own life, comes to me for help. I want to be part of the prevention resources on Guam, working together to address suicide in the community.
I have been sharing my story about Corey’s death by suicide immediately after his passing with his friends, our family members and my co-workers. I have asked to talk to youth groups and church organizations. I made a personal commitment to be a part of Guam’s Focus on Life campaign to stop suicide. Prevention work is my connection with the principle of interdependence; to be an available resource in suicide prevention.
Interdependence is the combined effort of all resources in the fight against suicide. We can raise awareness and take action like a large army that is trained and motivated to overcome the tragedies of our current losses and prevent future losses to suicide.
I have pledged my support by sharing my story and going out into the community when asked to present at conferences and other gatherings. By sharing my experience, I am hopeful that I am not helping to save lives. By doing so, it also serves as my vent that helps me in my healing process.
I have promised myself that this deep hurt and pain caused by the loss of my son will not take me down the path of self-destruction like my son took. I keep telling myself that even with the deep hurt and pain that suicide has brought into my life, something good has to come out of this. They say time heals, some may take longer than others. My personal feeling is it will never heal and as a parent you will never forget. I have learned to accept the loss of my son but the pain, hurt and emptiness will be always there.
I have managed however with the help of resources such as “FOCUS ON LIFE” by the PEACE Organization to harness and convert these negative feelings and make this my motivation to go out and share and be part of the resources to strengthen the core value of interdependence.
Whether as an advocate or a survivor, to address suicide we must have a combined effort to be effective. We all need each other.
In closing I would like to ask survivors like myself to come out and be part of the efforts to prevent suicide. As survivors we have the greatest impact by relating and sharing…our sharing might save someone’s life. SUICIDE IS PREVENTABLE.
Father, Survivor of Suicide
Throughout the Pacific, generosity is an important component of our island cultures. On Guam, we find that generosity is embodied specifically as chenchule’ and more generally as inafa’maolek. In a nutshell, chenchule’ is the practice of reciprocal giving while inafa’maolek refers to the principle of making life good for everyone. These cultural hallmarks are more than just rules for going to a party or the impulse to keep a stock of envelopes handy in case such an occasion presents itself. For our people, our knowledge of giving surpasses any notion of occasional, holiday time charity. Instead we find that our local values of generosity are reflected in our daily interactions with one another.
Chenchule’ is not bound to any particular season, place, or need. However, we do see chenchule’ most readily displayed in family settings. During celebrations or times of mourning or challenge, our family responds by lending a hand to share the load. In our culture, we learn that the entire community, even the land and sea, is our family – and we treat them like our own. There are many examples of the generosity of the people in our neighborhoods. Parishioners in churches offer their time to participate in ministries such as choirs or the counseling of engaged couples. In schools, students join organizations to protect the environment or serve other needs of our community. Members of the workforce – law enforcement and military personnel, medical professionals, teachers, and many others – work tirelessly to protect and enhance the lives entrusted to their care. The gears of generosity constantly turn so that our society may recover, function, and improve.
At a fundamental level, generosity is more than just about giving physical things. When we give, we offer more than a surplus or even our time. In essence, generosity is giving our very selves. By helping a friend walk away from the dangers of suicide and substance abuse, we give them our energy, our health, and our safety. Our lives become united to theirs and to the rest of the community. We become stronger. Being a generous community involves holding our personal beings and our neighbors in high esteem. Giving ourselves is an acknowledgement of our own self-worth as well as the value of the receivers – our families and friends. This means that keeping our society grounded in generosity will help our society prosper in health and wellness for years to come.
Student, Youth Leader
Guam Coalition "Save the Date" Proclamation signing on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 11am at the Latte of Freedom!
Skills Training for Bartenders and Servers to Prevent Alcohol Abuse and Reduce Potential Liability and Harm to Patrons;
First RBS Training on March 18, 2013
GBHWC Hosts Series of Workforce Development Trainings Starting this Week; 120 to Complete Mental
Health First Aid and Suicide Prevention Toolkit Trainings
Primary Care Providers and All Others Invited to
Take Advantage of TTI-Funded Trainings
GBHWC Receives Opportunity to Strengthen Guam’s
Focus on Life Suicide Prevention Program Continues Strong in 2013
Area Code Call Volume Report by SAMHSA
Suicide-First Aid Training Scheduled for 2013
A message from Rey M. Vega, Acting Director of GBHWC
Volunteers Needed for the Holiday Crisis Hotline
The Training Corner
Nineteen Community Members Complete Substance Abuse Prevention Skills Training
Empowering for a Suicide-Safer Island
JOIN US: Suicide Prevention Month - Community Forum
GONA Training Generates a New Perspective for Developing Guam's Strategic Prevention Plan
National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month Opens Community Forum
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
The Training Corner – August 2012
16th Annual Too Cool to Do Drugs
The Training Corner – July 2012
Happy 68th Liberation Day!
Join us at an ALCOHOL-FREE parade celebration!
One Nation Partners Urge for an Alcohol-Free
Celebration of Guam’s 68th Liberation Day
The Training Corner – June 2012
Summer Youth Swimming and Water Safety Program Opens
on June 15th, Slots Available for Wed/Fri schedule
Happening this Month
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness MonthPress Release
September is Recovery Month
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