NSF Navigating Home Guam fellows receive mental health first aid training and certification

The National Science Foundation Navigating Home Guam Program along with the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center hosted a mental health first aid certification training this month at the Lea Palace.


The all day training session was facilitated by behavioral health program leaders and consisted of break out activities, and training lectures designed to help educate attendees on the symptoms and warning signs of mental disorders and emergencies.


Nearly forty members of the NSF Navigating Home Guam community were on hand to receive the training and certification.


Fellows, students, staff and mentors participated in the training in hopes of developing better awareness and reactionary capabilities in the event of mental health emergency.


“(After the training) we can recognize the symptoms in our co-workers and be able to assist them if they are having intrusive thoughts,” said Marissa Villaverde. “Going through this training makes me feel better about being able to help others. I am more aware about the different symptoms and warning signs of emotional and mental crisis.”


KristiAnna Whitman, Ph.D and Jesse Libby led the training and certification through a partnership with the NSF Navigating Home Guam program according to Jessica Fernandez, program associate for the grant.


“We are immensely thankful for Dr. Whitman and Mr. Libby for administering this training,” said Fernandez. “One of the major goals for the Navigating Home program is to provide fellows with skills-based trainings that can help shape them into the leaders we would like to see in the workforce.”


Fernandez says that it is very important for fellows and stakeholders to have access to this training as it is not just about their safety but also a development tool for their professional progression.


The NSF Navigating Home Guam program is currently accepting applicants for its upcoming cohort. Selected applicants will be given a ticket back to Guam and then a paid fellowship with a partner organization in their field of interest. Current partners include the Guam Energy Office and the Department of Agriculture.


The program was created to help bring Guamanians who may have had to leave the island for opportunities in both education and work back home, reducing the brain drain here on Guam.


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