An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure and prevention is just what the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center's five year plan "PEACE" focuses on.
"This is where we work with not just people in the government level and the private sector but grass roots community people who are interested in learning about substance abuse prevention, suicide prevention, mental health promotion through prevention, education, and community empowerment (peace) each person, family, community, and organization actively participates to address suicide prevention, substance abuse and other behavioral issues within the island" Prevention and training branch supervisor Bobbie Benevente explained.
"The five year plan is going to engage community partners to really do some things that are meaningful to them in substance abuse prevention and in helping to learn more about the subject the data that exists on island to develop some trainer skills is to work with the broader community to take a look at environmental strategies and development empowering youth to be leaders in our community looking at the strengths of our culture our spirituality the existing resources that are on Guam to promote mental health positive mental health and make some data driven decisions" Benavente added.
Realizing the need to get ahead of the problem before it starts. The PEACE plan's foundation is set in empowering youth.
"We will be continuing to train youth as leaders in the field of prevention so there is training of trainers for these youth to lead in developing programs and services for their peers" Benavente continued.
While our youth play a vital role in prevention, the plan's success is really reliant on building community partnerships and getting the support from organizations such as the village mayors.
"The other challenge is just trying to get the whole community behind prevention as a priority for Guam there's treatment services intervention services but what about primary prevention?" Benavente inquired.
Benavente says the program kicks off next year at which time they will be approaching the Mayor's council of Guam for their support in reaching out to the community.