Suicide prevention and awareness walk is Saturday

LIHUE — Last year on Kauai, 24 people took their life.

On the average, there are an estimated 25 attempts for every person who died by suicide according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. That equates to 600 attempts last year on Kauai.

The Center for Disease Control reports from 2005 to 2015, nearly half of rural counties saw their suicide rates increase by 30 percent or more. And many attempts go unreported.

Saturday, people are encouraged to do something about it.

The public is invited to participate in the third annual prevention and awareness walk, “Working Together to Prevent Suicide” from 3 to 5 p.m. at Kauai Community College. About 125 people attended last year.

This year’s walk is offered by the Prevent Suicide Kauai Task Force. It will include local and state leaders sharing initiatives to prevent suicide, free T-shirts, food, music, and a short walk around campus with family and friends for the purpose of offering support, healing, and hope.

Jeffrey Pears of Prevent Suicide Kauai Task Force and an annual walk volunteer, said the main message they would like to share is that there is hope for those who are struggling with challenges in life, who may be considering suicide.

“There is hope and there are resources available that could help them,” he said.

As well, Saturday’s event brings the community together on a sensitive subject that can be difficult to talk about but is vitally important. It’s a chance to recall a loved one who was lost to suicide and remember all they meant to the people around them.

“It’s a good opportunity to talk with each other and share their story,” Pears said.

One way to help overcome such a loss is to focus on a person’s entire life, rather than the last few hours of it.

“Think about what they really brought in the way of a relationship and love,” Pears said.

A series of events are planned across the state for National Suicide Prevention Month in September.

Suicide is the leading cause of fatal injuries in Hawaii for people ages 15 to 44 and is the ninth-leading cause of all deaths in the state. From 2013 to 2017, 926

In Hawaii, on average, one person dies by suicide every two days.

County and state volunteers, Lili‘uokalani Trust, Life’s Bridges Hawaii, Inc. and others are working together to stop suicide through education, early intervention, and postvention support to families and communities.

To register, go to www.preventsuicidekauai.org. Info: Madeleine Hiraga-Nuccio of the Department of Health at (808) 274-3890 or madeleine.hiraga-nuccio@doh.hawaii.gov.

For anyone experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, or anyone who knows someone who is, call the Crisis Line of Hawaii at 1-800-753-6879 (Neighbor Islands), the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), and message the Crisis Text Line at 741741. Resources are available 24 hours every day.

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