LIHUE — In 2017, there were 25 reported suicide deaths on Kauai. In 2018, there were 18.
So far this year, there have not been any suicide deaths reported.
Gina Kaulukukui of Life’s Bridges said while keeping track of the numbers helps illustrate what’s happening on Kauai, focusing on them isn’t the best way to reduce suicides.
“Our goal is safe messaging and helping our community to learn the warning signs of someone at risk,” she said. “If every one of your readers learns to recognize someone at risk, we can change our numbers.”
Breaking the stigma around suicide conversation is the goal of several organizations on Kauai.
Life’s Bridges has been gathering volunteers since 2007 for suicide prevention and bereavement services, striving to help the community heal and talk openly about suicide.
Students have access to mental health counseling at Kauai Community College, and KCC hosts a suicide prevention and awareness walk each year.
Another nonprofit recently formed.
Kauai Mental Health Advocates holding talk story sessions to connect community members for healing and resource sharing.
It’s all in an effort to reduce suicide numbers on Kauai, where there were 15 reported suicide deaths in 2015 and 11 in 2016.
There isn’t just one factor that causes someone to end their life, Kaulukukui said. Multiple factors are at play and it’s important to be able to see them all.
“We do know that an undiagnosed mental health issue can be a contributing factor. We also know that if we can break the stigma around mental health and suicide, more people would seek help,” Kaulukukui said. “The most important thing is that help, hope and healing is possible.”
Kauai Mental Health Advocates can connect community members with each other and with resources on the island; Life’s Bridges and the Prevent Suicide Kauai Task Force offer free trainings on suicide prevention; and hot lines are available for those who need to talk.
Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for help
Anyone interested in Kauai Mental Health Advocates’s community conversations can call Franci Davila at 631-1154.
The Prevent Suicide Kauai Task Force and Life’s Bridges can be reached at 651-6637.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.