Guam Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Guam Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Garrett Lee Smith State

Suicide is the 5th leading cause of death on Guam; an approximate one suicide death every two weeks occurring predominantly among males, who outnumber suicide deaths among females with a ratio of 9:1.  Suicide deaths disaggregated by age predominate among youth and young adults aged 10-29 on Guam.   Cumulatively in the past eleven years (from 2000 to 2010), 20% of suicide deaths occurred in those aged 10-19, and 38% of deaths happened among those aged 20-29 years.  Altogether, close to 60% of all suicide deaths on Guam from 2000-2010 occurred in those younger than age 30.  

In October 2008, Guam was awarded a GLSMA Youth Suicide Prevention grant targeting individuals primarily between the ages of 10-24 years. Guam’s Focus on Life accomplishments to date include:
a) an improved surveillance and centralized monitoring and reporting system for capturing data on suicide attempts and deaths, as well as other intentional self-harming;
b) stronger public, private and community-based partnerships in the development of culturally relevant suicide prevention resources, training, early intervention, post-vention and referrals for treatment services that are responsive to the community’s identified needs;
c) expansion of Guam’s 24-Hour Crisis Hotline services to include a Youth Helpline component managed by trained youth volunteers;
d) established pool of locally-based ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and safeTALK trainers who advocate for effective, evidence-based suicide prevention policies, programs, and practices among Guam’s key stakeholders; and

e) a Program Evaluation Logic Model that makes sense for evaluating program effectiveness in reducing suicide rates and attempts on Guam, resulting in healthier, resilient community members.