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Last updateThu, 24 Oct 2019 12am







    Wednesday, October 23, 2019-2:08:18A.M.






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NMI hosts behavioral health council meeting

(CHCC) — The Pacific Behavioral Health Collaborating Council or PBHCC held its spring 2019 meeting on Saipan from April 8 to 12, 2019.

The council representation comprises behavioral health leadership from six Pacific jurisdictions — American Samoa, Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Created in 1999, the goal of the PBHCC is to address the collective behavioral health needs of the jurisdictions; to share successes and mitigate challenges; support, network, and coordinate professional development opportunities; and advocate for data-driven behavioral health priorities of each island nation and collectively as a jurisdictional body.

Through this unified voice, key Pacific interests have been supported in behavioral health leading to greater, more culturally responsive outcomes in planned goals and regional/federal relationships.

A key component of the PBHCC is determining practical, meaningful ways to incorporate and embody behavioral health as an essential component of overall health and wellness. There is also a large emphasis placed on integrating and adapting local cultural practices that promote health intertwined with the latest science in the field that seeks to fit the unique community needs of these jurisdictions.

The PBHCC delegates included RMI’s Julia Alfred, Single State Authority for Behavioral Health; FSM’s Benido Victor, Director of Behavioral Health, and Telui Liwy, Project LAUNCH Coordinator; and Guam’s Therese Arriola, Director of the Behavioral Health and Wellness Center.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA was represented by Region 2 Administrator Mr. Dennis Romero, and Pacific Southwest Training and Technical Assistance invited guests and partners included Dr. Thomas Freese and Beth Finnerty of the Addictions Technology Training Center, Alyssa O’Hair of the Prevention Technology Training Center, Dr. Suganya Sockalingam of the Mental Health Technology Training Center, as well as Stanford University’s Dr. Steven Adelsheim of the Department of Psychiatry. Administrator Dennis Romero’s presence at the council meeting solidified the partnership between the PBHCC and SAMHSA with reassured guidance and support.

The spring 2019 PBHCC meeting focused on strategically building behavioral health capacity in the next year, as the Council also serves as a Pacific Behavioral Health Certification Body.

The PBHCC Certification Body serves to oversee regional/international certification for behavioral health professionals with current certifications that include International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium Prevention Specialists and Peer Recovery Specialists and National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors Addiction Drug Counselor certifications.

The PBHCC, with the support of its members, highlighted a significant increase in certifications late last year due to the new revised priorities of the council to address regional workforce development.

Through these partnerships and Health Resources and Services Administration funding, the PBHCC and Certification Board were able to assist in certifying 56 regional and 26 international certifications for the region in the last quarter alone, a major milestone as the previous three quarters combined totaled only 17 regional and 17 international certifications for the region.

As the host jurisdiction for the spring PBHCC meeting, the CNMI co-coordinated the week-long meetings, activities, and site visits. These site visits were made to the Community Guidance Center offices and included an opportunity to participate as observers in a Drug Court hearing with CNMI Superior Court Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio presiding and a visit to the Office of the Governor’s Substance Abuse and Addictions Rehabilitation program.

As vice president on the council and acting president for this spring meeting, the CNMI was represented by the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. Chief Executive Officer Esther L. Muna, CHCC Community Guidance Center Director Reyna M. Saures, Dr. Glenda George, and CGC management and staff.

For information regarding mental and behavioral health services, or if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, contact the Community Guidance Center at 323-6560/61 or visit our office located on the 2nd floor of the TSL Plaza in Garapan.

For more information about its programs, follow CHCC on Facebook and Twitter at @cnmichcc, check out its website at or call 234-8950.