State sponsors suicide prevention conference

HONOLULU – The Hawaii State Department of Health Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention System Branch, in partnership with the Prevent Suicide Hawaii Task Force, is announcing the 2019 Prevent Suicide Hawaii Statewide Conference: “Hope, Help, Healing,” which will be held on April 11-12, at the Ala Moana Hotel at 410 Atkinson Drive in Honolulu.

Local and national experts in suicide prevention will present on a range of topics, from increasing awareness of suicide prevention to enhancing skills to respond to those at risk, including those who have survived the loss of a loved one.

Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, will be the national keynote speaker.

In Hawaii, it is estimated that one person dies by suicide every two days and suicide is the most common cause of fatal injuries among residents.

Over a five-year period from 2013 to 2017, 926 Hawaii residents died from suicide — 25 percent of a total of 3,695 fatal injuries — outpacing car crashes, homicide, unintentional poisoning and drowning as a cause of death.

Following an increasing trend of suicide deaths nationally, Hawaii has also seen a rising rate of suicide death over the last 10 years, as well as an increasing trend in the annual number of non-fatal suicide attempts, according to a press release. For every completed suicide, there are twice as many hospitalizations and three times as many emergency department visits.

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