By Katrina Carranza, School-Based Clinician and Daime Rivera, Youth Services Specialist, Ma’lak Na Ha’åni
May was Mental Health Awareness Month. And our team in Guam is making sure people make their mental health a priority! WestCare Pacific Islands’ youth program, Ma’lak Na Ha’ani or Bright Futures, is a trauma treatment program for youth ages eleven to seventeen who are living in Guam. The team took part in the Youth Mental Health First Aid event facilitated by certified trainers from the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center.
The industrious staff of Bright Futures obtained skills paramount to readily assess youth who may be at risk of suicide or self-harm including listening empathically and without judgment, providing reassurance of emotional support and information, and encouraging the connection to appropriate professional help. This will considerably propel the program’s mission to provide critical mental health support and treatment services to youth at multiple school sites on the island of Guam.
This training comes at an opportune time as the Guam Department of Education (GDOE) has now implemented face-to-face instruction, which has allowed the team to be at their designated schools to build relationships, receive referrals for new clients, and conduct individual counseling and/or psychoeducational sessions to youth. .