9 Sep 2010

Two mental health facilities planned for American Samoa

2:32 pm on 9 September 2010

American Samoa may be about to get two facilities for people with mental health issues after years of concern that the territory had no such facility.

The Department of Public Works, with promised funding from the Department of the Interior, is designing a mental health facility which could accommodate defendants who are civilly committed.

It's to be constructed near the Juvenile Detention Center.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health is going ahead with plans to build a mental health facility at the Tafuna Health Center.

It will see mental health out-patients.

The Health Director, Tuiasina Dr. Salamo Laumoli, says it's not appropriate to treat people facing criminal charges at a facility also attended by the general public.

Because of the lack of a mental health facility in the territory, defendants who've been civilly committed by the courts, have to be housed at the Tafuna Correctional Facility.

The courts have been pushing for some years for specialist services for defendants with mental health problems.