HONOLULU — The state Department of Health’s Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention System Branch and the Prevent Suicide Hawai‘i Task Force are taking action to recognize National Suicide Prevention Month. Events will be held statewide throughout September to call attention to this issue.
In Hawai‘i, one person dies from suicide every two days. Suicide is the leading cause of fatal injuries for those ages 15 to 64 and is the 10th-leading cause of all deaths in the state. From 2016 to 2020, some 957 Hawai‘i residents died from suicide.
“Suicide is a serious, complex and preventable public-health issue,” said Dr. Alvin C. Bronstein, chief of the DOH Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention Branch.
“Suicide prevention requires a strategic and comprehensive approach, including outreach and stakeholder collaboration, to ensure resources are available to those most in need. This is especially important during the pandemic,” Bronstein said.
This year, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Hawai‘i Chapter’s “Out of Darkness Experience” will be held virtually statewide on Saturday, Sept. 18, beginning at 9 a.m.
This annual event is designed to increase awareness of suicide-prevention resources and provide support for at-risk individuals, loved ones of suicide survivors and the public. To register for the “Out of Darkness Experience,” visit Hawai‘i Virtual Walk.
“Our goal is to raise suicide-prevention awareness statewide and inform everyone about the support services available,” said Renee Yu, DOH suicide-prevention coordinator. “These services include suicide-prevention training for health-care professionals, survivor outreach and family-member support.”
Depression, anxiety and isolation are risk factors and warning signs of suicide. The agencies advise to reach out for help right away if anyone is experiencing any of these feelings on a regular basis, or if the frequency or severity of the feelings is increasing. Talk to a trusted friend, family member or mental-health professional.
Mental-health professionals are trained to help people feel better before a mental-health condition progresses into suicidal thoughts. Minors 14 years of age or older can consent to outpatient mental health without the permission, knowledge or participation of their parents or legal guardians, upon consultation and agreement of their licensed therapist.
To learn more about suicide prevention in Hawai‘i, visit health.hawaii.gov/injuryprevention/home/suicide-prevention/information/.
• The Hawai‘i CARES help line is a free, 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week coordination center for support with substance use, mental health and crisis intervention. Locally trained and qualified clinical and crisis-call-center staff provide supportive counseling, screening for urgent or emergent mental-health or substance-use needs, recommendations for behavioral-health assessments, and services and crisis interventions. Any Hawai‘i resident may call Hawai‘i CARES at 1-800-753-6879. For more information about Hawai‘i CARES, visit hicares.hawaii.gov/;
• The Crisis Text Line offers free, 24/7 crisis counseling. Text ALOHA to 741741 to be connected with a live, trained crisis counselor who will respond on a secure online platform. For more information, visit crisistextline.org;
• The Hawai‘i Poison Center provides help for poisoning emergencies. Call 1-800-222-1222. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For information, visit hipoisoncenter.org;
• For more information about taking action against suicide, visit the Vibrant Emotional Health website to learn about the #BeThe1To campaign at bethe1to.com or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention National Suicide Prevention Week website at afsp.org/national-suicide-prevention-week.
Kaua‘i 2021 Suicide Prevention Month activities
• Go to: preventsuicidekauai.org for details and updates on all Kaua‘i September activities;
• To donate, volunteer, or for any questions about Kaua‘i activities, contact Patricia Wistinghausen at email@example.com or 808-346-7492;
• Now through the end of the month, the Post It Forward Kaua‘i — You Got This Kaua‘i ‘Ohana September Challenge on Instagram is at instagram.com/yougotthiskauai;
• The next two Thursdays, Sept. 16 and 23, Suicide Prevention 101 Virtual Training is offered from 5 to 6:30 p.m. via Zoom;
• On Sept. 27, the Prevent Suicide Kaua‘i Task Force Meetingis from 3 to 4:30 p.m. via Zoom;
• On Sept. 29, Hale ‘Opio Youth Suicide & Bullying Prevention Training is in-person from 3 to 5 p.m.;
• Also on Sept. 29, the Kaua‘i Mental Health Advocates Community Conversation on Suicide Prevention is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. via Zoom.