Feeling stressed, depressed, lonely, or just needing someone to talk to? Whatever you are going through, you are not alone. Here are some programs in the community that can help and guide us all:
CHCC Community Guidance Center
The main provider of mental health services for all in the CNMI, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s Community Guidance Center offers outreach, prevention and education services, support services to families, and referral assistance to other resources in the community. Mental health treatment services offered are: 1] The Transitional Living Center, which provides Day Treatment Program; case management; outreach, family, and educational services; illness management and recovery training; medication management; and anger management; 2] The Victims of Crime Advocacy Program, which provides support and counseling services to all victims of crime in the CNMI, including secondary trauma, domestic violence, depression, panic disorders, suicide ideation, sexual abuse, and drug abuse; and 3] Psychiatric outpatient services. For assistance or additional information, contact (670) 234-8950 Ext. 3311.
Hali’ Inaguaiya – Systems of Care
Systems of Care is a network of community-based programs to serve and support children and youth with serious mental health needs, and their families. Services and support provided are built on the strengths of the individuals, to address each person’s cultural and linguistic needs, in order for them—and their families—to function better wherever they are, and throughout their lives. Programs and services that System of Care offer include the Natural Helpers Program; mental health first aid certification; family and youth mental health workshops; behavioral counseling and therapy; wraparound process; and Healthy Family, Healthy Communities. For assistance or more information, contact (670) 664-4604. Office hours are from 7:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday.
CNMI PSS: Project HALIGI AWARE
The CNMI Public School System prioritizes students and faculty’s mental wellness through Project Healthy, Affirming, Locally-Inclusive Grant Initiative for Advancing Awareness and Resilience in Education, or HALIGI AWARE. HALIGI AWARE also extends mental health awareness at the community level, and follows this three-tier system: 1) Universal approach, where a safe environment is created to promote healthy and successful students; 2) Targeted approach, where at-risk students and staff are placed in small groups of specialized mental health program led by a mental health professional; and 3) Intensive support, provided specifically to the individual’s need and referred to community health partners for additional support. For assistance and more information, contact (670) 664-3822. Office hours are from 7:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.
CNMI PSS: Project TASA
The CNMI Public School System’s Project Trauma Advised Student Advocacy, or TASA, also follows a multi-tiered approach to school-based behavioral health and crisis response, as it supports and increases student resilience, to mitigate the impact of disaster-based trauma and crisis, such as the trauma caused by Typhoon Manghkut, Super Typhoon Yutu, and now, COVID-19. Project TASA seeks to improve PSS staff preparedness to recognize and respond to trauma and crisis, increase access to school-based and related mental health services, and connect family, schools, and community to address student mental health and well-being concerns. Through the Office of Student & Support Services, webinars are held under Project TASA (and HALIGI AWARE), which included Table Talks: Overcoming Anxiety about School, among others.
Northern Marianas Protection & Advocacy Systems, Inc.
NMPASI is a local non-profit that administers grant programs from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Center for Mental Health/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, among others. They run programs such as the Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness, and the Protection & Advocacy for Individual Rights, providing legally-based advocacy services for and on behalf of anyone who has been discriminated against because of a mental illness. For assistance, or for more information, call (670) 235-7273/4 or visit www.nmpasi.org.
Commonwealth Ports Authority
Employees of the Commonwealth Ports Authority are able to take a day off per quarter under CPA’s self-care leave policy, approved by its board last September 2021. The self-care leave is intended to promote employee well-being, where there is more employee satisfaction and engagement, by managing work-related stress. The leave is also separate from, and is in addition to other CPA employee benefits such as annual or sick leaves.
Marianas Visitors Authority
The Marianas Visitors Authority also has a self-care leave policy in place, approved by its board in October 2021, to provide for its employees a chance to take at least a day off to recharge. MVA staff work day in and out, especially during large community events, according to MVA managing director Priscilla Iakopo in an earlier interview, and the self-care leave policy allows them to be able to rest mentally and physically, and come back refreshed.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1 (800) 273-8255, which provides counseling and support 24 hours a day.