Guam Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Focus on Life
Garrett Lee Smith State

Governor of Guam Edward J.B. Calvo and Lt. Governor Raymond S. Tenorio issued Executive Order No. 2011-03, demonstrating their commitment to sustain PEACE and Focus on Life initiatives that strengthen Guams capacity to create a healthier island community.  Following a strategic prevention framework process, culturally relevant, evidence-based programs, practices and policies that are data-driven and build upon the strengths and resources of the people of Guam will be implemented. Appointed members of the Governors PEACE Council and Guams SEOW will actively facilitate the accomplishments of identified policy and program goals and objectives to ensure that targeted priorities are based on current data and that evidence of effectiveness is collected and used in decision-making processes.The Council and SEOW represent children, youth and family services agencies.

Guam endures a disturbingly high rate of suicide among its youth and adult population; close to 60% of all suicide deaths on Guam occur among those 30 years and younger. Cumulatively from 2000 to 2010, 21% of suicide deaths occurred in those aged 10-19, and 38% of deaths happened among those aged 20-29 years. Suicide is the fifth leading cause of death on Guam with approximately one suicide death every two weeks. Guams Focus on Life-Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention State Plan has been endorsed by Governor Calvo. Utilizing SAMHSA Strategic Prevention Framework 5-steps process and lessons learned from the PEACE (Prevention Education and Community Empowerment) Project experience. Data-driven, community-based approaches were utilized to ensure that youths, their families and communities at risk for suicide were served, particularly in the area of community outreach and education, and skills training among youth, parents, educators and youth services providers to identify and make the necessary referrals for treatment.

Guam Focus on Life will not only be to strengthen what has been accomplished within the recent three years, but to take action to build and expand suicide prevention and early intervention services that are aligned with the goals of this State/Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention Cooperative Agreement. Guam State Strategic Prevention Plan for prevention and training follows a public health approach that focuses on identifying the patterns of behaviors of a group of population and aims at changing the environment to increase protective factors and reduce risks. Several measures have been taken in this regard: Establishing a surveillance system, identifying risk and protective factors, implementing prevention and early intervention programs and services that are effective on Guam, and evaluating what works and/or could be improved upon