Hagåtña, Guam – The Leon Guerrero-Tenorio Administration announces initiatives to assist people in crisis through behavioral health treatment provided collaboratively by the new Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT) pilot program. Led by the Guam Behavioral Health & Wellness Center (GBHWC) in partnership with the Guam Police Department (GPD) and Guam Fire Department (GFD), a team of behavioral health specialists works with emergency responders to respond to crises involving mental health, suicide, depression, homelessness and substance use.
“When the people of Guam are experiencing challenges with their mental health, including contemplating suicide or struggling with depression, we want to be right there alongside them offering compassionate outreach and hope,” said Governor Lou Leon Guerrero. “The MCRT provides crisis management services to those in need and links them to the appropriate care. Changing how we respond to non-violent calls related to mental health is going to take work and time, but it is a valuable investment we are making to save lives and improve health.”
“The MCRT is an essential first step in our long-term efforts to strengthen our continuum of care by promoting de-escalation and safe resolution on Guam,” said Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio. “This new insightful resource helps our law enforcement officers manage high-risk situations in a way that re-envisions their response and enhances public safety overall. Struggling with mental health is not a crime, and we want to ensure we are there for people in the manner they need us most.”
The MCRT pilot program will be launched in phases. The first phase started on June 6, 2022, and operates Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Saturday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. – for the first three months. This phase focuses solely on responding to calls from active GBHWC clients who are 18 years old or above. The second phase starts on September 6, 2022, and will open services to non-clients 18 years old and above. Calls to GFD dispatch relating to mental health with no relative public safety or medical concerns will be diverted to GBHWC’s Crisis Hotline Center for further assistance or MCRT activation if deemed appropriate.
GBHWC’s goal is to build its workforce capacity to support the program’s expansion to launch its full scope of services by the end of the year. This will include additional teams encompassing a child-focused component and expanding hours to support 24/7 operations serving all those in need, regardless of age. The MCRT comprises a master’s level Crisis Specialist, a Certified Peer Support Specialist, and/or a Crisis Intervention Aide trained to provide trauma-informed crisis intervention, care coordination, and de-escalation services to individuals on-scene. In addition, the MCRT will provide clients with follow-up care for up to two weeks to ensure their well-being and linkages to ongoing care, if needed.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or experiencing a behavioral health or substance use crisis, the GBHWC Crisis Hotline provides connection to free, confidential support and can be reached at (671)647-8833/4.