admin's picture

By David V. Crisostomo

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (May 21, 2001 - Pacific Daily News)---It will take a community effort to fight Guam’s teen suicide problem.

That idea is the focus of the Pacific Daily News’ teen suicide prevention project, "BEACON: Listen, Love, Live," which launches at the Micronesia Mall Saturday.

The project brings together various island resources to help address the high number of teen suicides on Guam.

There have been at least a dozen teen suicides this year and there were 27 last year according to Pacific Daily News files.

To overcome the crisis, the community must come together to solve the problem, said Lee P. Webber, Pacific Daily News president and publisher.

"I’ve lived here nearly 32 years and I’ve never seen circumstances of this nature in this community," Webber said, adding that the suicide problem may be symptomatic of a breakdown in the family structure.

"Children and young people really need that anchor of faith, and family and guidance from their parents with regards to the selection of their friends and the people with whom they choose to associate," he said.

Webber said BEACON targets young people as well as families.

"I think the program addresses the need to regain strength in the family, the need to reaffirm their faith... and what that means to them as an individual, and what it means to the family and the very structure and fabric of this community," Webber said.

Goals: Project coordinator Edna Nery, Pacific Daily News’ human resources manager, said BEACON has two goals:

"We associate the word ‘beacon’ with light, which serves as a guide when one is in doubt or at a loss," Nery said. She said BEACON’s "Listen, Love, Live," ties in with three taproots -- listening to one’s faith; loving your higher power, your family and friends; and living life accordingly.

Nery said the project will sponsor monthly events to allow young people and families access to community resources and to help increase suicide prevention awareness. Forums featuring various speakers also will be held, she said.

Also, a BEACON page in the Pacific Daily News will appear on Mondays until the project wraps up in November.

Webber said he encourages young people and their families to take part in BEACON.

Get Involved: "Our hope and prayer in this is that through this effort we can touch the lives of enough of these young people -- who may be on a borderline -- and bring them back, and maybe do the same for some families," Webber said.

"In my opinion, as the family goes, so goes the community, and as the community goes, so goes the island. My hope with BEACON is that we can save lives."



Date: May 26 Time: 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Where: Micronesia Mall Center Court Highlights: Talk by Lt. Col. Herrie L. Reed Jr.; entertainment; skits by Youth for Youth members; displays; T-shirts to first 100 participants, and raffle prizes.


If you or your group would like to volunteer or want more information, please contact Edna Nery at 477-9711, Ext. 106; fax 477-3079 (Attn: Project BEACON); or e-mail: 


Red Flags: Here are warning signs that parents need to watch for:


Tips for helping suicidal young adults and teens:

Offer help and listen: Encourage depressed teens to talk about their feelings. Listen, don’t lecture.

Trust your instincts: If it seems that a situation may be serious, seek prompt help. Break a confidence, if necessary, in order to save a life.

Pay attention and talk about suicide: Ask direct questions and don’t be afraid of frank discussion. Silence is deadly.

Seek professional help: It is essential to seek expert advice from a mental health professional who has experience helping depressed teens or young adults. Also, alert key adults in the teen’s life -- family, friends and teachers.


Crisis Hotline: The Crisis Hotline is a 24-hour crisis intervention hot line that serves the public by providing a listening service, referral service and public outreach. All calls are handled confidentially. Call 647-8833.

Sanctuary: Sanctuary provides individual, family and group counseling and serves as a temporary youth shelter. Call 735-1400 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 482-4912 from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. to speak to a crisis intervention worker.

Navy Family Service Center: The Navy Family Service Center assists both single and married military personnel to help solve problems through counseling and provides in-depth information on resources available to them in the military and civilian community on Guam. Call 333-2056.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment