Guam Preparing to Launch 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in July 2022
Hagåtña, Guam – The Leon Guerrero-Tenorio Administration is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) for the local implementation of the new 988 dialing code that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, beginning on July 16, 2022. HHS will be releasing funding to states and territories, with the goal of improving local crisis center capacity and reaching a 90% answer rate for 988 calls, chats, and texts. This morning, joined by the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center (GBHWC) and community partners, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero signed Proclamation No. 2022-38 designating May 2022 as Mental Health Month and May 7, 2022 as National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.
“We cannot transform mental health solely through the healthcare system. We must also address the conditions of behavioral health, invest in community services, and foster a culture and environment that broadly promotes mental wellness and recovery,” said Governor Leon Guerrero. “We need a whole-of-society effort to address the mental health crisis: to expand prevention programs and actions that improve mental health at every age and across settings, and to enhance programs that support recovery, especially for populations at increased risk.”
“As our Administration works to expand suicide prevention and strengthen crisis care infrastructure within our communities, those who need immediate assistance can call the GBHWC Crisis Hotline available 24/7 at 671-647-8833/4,” said Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio. “It is imperative that we promote better pathways to care for all those with behavioral health needs. We stand in solidarity with those who are experiencing mental health challenges, renewing our commitment to ensuring that we meet the holistic health needs of the people of Guam.”
In March 2022, Guam received 40 calls through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, with 36 calls answered locally for an answer rate of 90%. From March 2020 to April 2021, GBHWC conducted a total of 1,622 clinical intakes and experienced an increase of Crisis Hotline calls, tracking an average of 25 calls per month prior to the pandemic, to the current average of approximately 500 calls per month. GBHWC maintains a 90% answer rate and is currently working toward offering crisis chat and text services in line with national initiatives.