11 Jan 2012

Building work to start on mental health institution in American Samoa

1:29 pm on 11 January 2012

Construction work is to start this year on American Samoa's first mental health care institution.

The territory's Governor Togiola Tulafono says 2012 will see designs completed for the four-storey building to be located in the Tafuna village area.

The 3.2 million dollar centre will also provide mental health care for prison inmates following the High Court's long-standing concern American Samoa has no facility to meet their needs.

Drug and alcohol treatment programmes are also receiving a federal funding boost with 8.2 million dollars granted over a five year period.

Togiola says the grant is for screening, intervention and referral to treatment for those who may be involved with substance abuse.

He says the problem is becoming pervasive in the territory with an increasing number of crimes committed by those under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Togiola says the programme will enable the local government to provide help instead of just punishment.