The United States territory of Guam requests funding to support Project Tulaika, which means “Change” in Chamorro. Guam has seen an increase over the years of individuals who are homeless, unemployed, abusing alcohol or drugs, committing crimes, or dying by suicide. Youth and young adults of transition age (16-25) in Guam, make up almost half of all individuals experiencing those challenges. As we know, individuals who live with an SED or SMI, may encounter additional challenges.
Data within the last two years have shown particularly high rates of suicide and homelessness for individuals in Guam ages 16-25, with a majority of them being either Chamorro or from the Freely Associated States (FAS) of Micronesia. Project Tulaika aims to make a significant CHANGE to this downward trend by increasing access to effective behavioral health interventions and supports for this vulnerable population. This project proposes to focus on two communities by raising awareness, enhancing screening and detection, expanding outreach and engagement, and ultimately improving the coordination of care for these individuals.
The first community of focus will be individuals from the FAS, ages 16-25 that have an SED or SMI, and who live in the northern villages of the island. Services for this community (Lagu) will be provided within the Northern Regional Community Health Center. The second community of focus will be Chamorro (or indigenous) individuals, ages 16-25 that have an SED or SMI, who live in the southern villages of the island. Services for this community (Haya) will be provided within the Southern Regional Community Health Center. The project proposes to serve approximately 45 individuals from Lagu community and 20 individuals from the Haya community annually; and 325 total individuals over the five years of the project.
Project Tulaika will use the system of care framework and philosophy to guide the treatment interventions for the focus populations, ensuring that the youth, young adults, and their families are participative members of their treatment teams. There are four (4) primary goals of Project Tulaika that will enable us to provide coordinated, culturally and linguistically competent, services and supports, they are to: 1) Improve transition services for youth and young adults ages 16 to 25 with SEDs or SMI by integrating existing transitional services available through public and private organizations; 2) Increase access to treatment and support services for the transition-aged population through the implementation of multiple outreach initiatives; 3) Integrate behavioral health into primary health care for youth and young adults ages 16 to 25 with an SED or SMI; and 4) Develop a Continuous Quality Improvement & Sustainability Plan.