A New Home for the Goshen Trust Mental Health Facility

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By: Jasmine Netzler-Iose, Government Press, 17 January 2024 Apia Samoa. 

“This groundbreaking event is not merely about constructing a building; it signifies our commitment to providing a sanctuary for healing, understanding, and recovery.” – Minister of Health Valasi Luapitofanua To’ogamaga Tafito Selesele.

A special groundbreaking ceremony was held at Vailima on Wednesday morning to launch the construction of a new home for the Goshen Trust Mental Health Facility.

The non-profit organisation was established in 2009 and the ceremony for the building of its new Mental Health Facility is evident of Goshen’s unwavering commitment to independent mental health services in Samoa.

Attendees at the Goshen Trust groundbreaking ceremony. Photos: Jasmine Netzler-Iose.

Goshen also works in partnership with the Ministry of Health’s Mental Health Unit to rehabilitate patients for re-integration into the community.

The mission statement of Goshen Trust is to ‘provide quality community based services and advocacy for people with mental health disorders and their families in Samoa’.

According to the CEO Naomi Eshragi, the relocation to Vailima and plans for a new Mental Health Facility was a result of the need for safer facilities especially with the growing issues brought about by climate change.

Afoa Stefan Szegedi, Honorary Consul of Germany to Samoa Christa Szegedi and Ambassador of Japan Senta Kaisuke. Photo: Jasmine Netzler-Iose, Government Press.

The current facilities are flood-prone as it is located at Moamoa.

The CEO acknowledged the German Consulate in Samoa and Ambassador of Germany.  “I look forward to our continuous working together.”

She extended many thanks to all those who had made the relocation possible..

“It is best to operate out of a safer facilities,” she said.

Ambassador of the people of Japan to Samoa Senta Keisuke says he was deeply honoured to be representing Japan at the ceremony.

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“Japan is privileged to extend support by funding the construction of their vital facility under its GGP program in this new, secure setting.”

The Ambassador added that his country believes that addressing mental health issues is important to humanity and for a prosperous society.

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The construction of the Mental Health Facility of the Goshen Trust is funded by the Government of Japan under Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grass-Roots Human Security Projects (GGP).

The GGP continues to support and assist small-scale projects directly benefitting at the grass-roots level as well as contributing to the socio-economic development of the Independent State of Samoa.

The signing ceremony for the grant for this project happened last year on the 26th of January.

The Trust received a grant of up to USD 170,975 (approximately WST 445,000) to assist the mental health services to construct a new two- storey mental health facility containing 1 large room, 1 small office, 1 consultation room, 2 toilets, 2 basins, 2 shower room and 16 bedrooms to provide a safe and proper mental health services such as rehabilitation programmes and vocational trainings for their clients.

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The property where the new facility will be constructed was generously allocated by the Government of Samoa ‘recognising the critical importance of bolstering mental health services in our nation’ said Minister of Health Valasi Luapitofanua To’ogamaga Tafito Selesele in his keynote address.

He said the property is a commitment by government that reflects ‘a testament to our collective understanding of the growing need for long-term respite and support for those grappling with mental health challenges’.

“This groundbreaking event symbolizes not just the physical construction of a facility but the foundation of hope, compassion, and progress. The Goshen Trust will now have the canvas to paint a brighter future for individuals battling mental illness and their families,” the minister added.

He acknowledged that mental health is not just an individual concern rather a social responsibility thus by investing in the project ‘we are investing in the well-being of our people and in the prosperity of our nation’.

The minister extended his deepest gratitude to the Government of Japan for generously funding this project, the Government of Samoa for the allocated property and all those who made it possible including; Afioga Moala Tavita Panoa, Taimalie Charlie Westerlund [and the] Ministry of MNRE.”

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Valasi also thanked the community, our dedicated team and our supporters and also extended his appreciation to the Goshen Trust for their tireless commitment to mental health.

“Together, let us lay the foundation for a future where mental health is prioritized, and our people find solace, understanding and resilience.”