GUAM GOVERNOR GUTIERREZ URGES YOUTH TO FOCUS ON PREVENTING SUICIDE

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By Steve Limtiaco

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (April 3, 2001 – Pacific Daily News)---Gov. Carl Gutierrez has declared 2001 as "Youth Year," and said special attention must be given to preventing teen suicide on Guam.

He signed a proclamation during a press conference Monday morning at Adelup.

"It seems like everything leads back to our social problems right now, and it leads back to you (youth)," Gutierrez told a group of high school students who were invited to the proclamation signing.

"So many of our young adults are taking their own lives. I don't know what the reason is -- that they couldn't cope with life or are being enticed for some reason. It's scary."

He said first lady Geri Gutierrez has promised to help the administration, "to see what we can do to bring back not only the nuclear family, but to bring back the extended-family concept that makes family such a special place.

"You can do more things; you can solve more problems through the family than any legislation a legislature can pass or the governor can sign into law."

The governor challenged island youth to reach out to their troubled peers and to respect their elders.

Department of Youth Affairs Director Rory Respicio told of problems facing youth, including suicide, drug and alcohol abuse and violence.

"What you're doing today is acknowledging that our young people need to come together and solve some of the very serious issues that are confronting their own peer group," he said.

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

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