Public Events Set to Raise Awareness During Suicide Prevention Month
In Hawai‘i, one person dies by suicide every two days in our state, which is why the Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention System Branch, in partnership with the Prevent Suicide Hawai‘i Task Force, is announcing a series of community events open to the public in recognition of Suicide Prevention Month in Hawai‘i.
The goal of events across the state during the month of September is to raise public awareness about suicide prevention, the impact of suicides in Hawai‘i, and to connect survivors with postvention services (schedule of events listed below).
On Hawai‘i Island, events are scheduled on the following dates in 2019:
- Sept. 10 (noon): Community sign making at the University of Hawai‘i Hilo campus library lānai with sign-waving to follow (4:30 to 5:30 p.m.). Contact: Yolisa Duley, [email protected].
- Sept. 25 (10 a.m.–2:45 p.m.): Recognize/Connect Suicide Prevention Training at Hilo Medical Center ground conference room. Contact: Gary Gardner, [email protected].
In Hawai‘i, suicide is the leading cause of fatal injuries for people ages 15 to 64 and is the tenth leading cause of all deaths in the state. From 2014 to 2018, 958 Hawai‘i residents died from suicide.
“Suicide is a serious, complex and preventable public health issue,” said Health Director Bruce Anderson. “Our response requires a strategic and comprehensive approach through outreach, collaboration with stakeholders, and building and maintaining statewide relationships to ensure resources are available to those who need them most. We hope that through these efforts, we’ll be able to identify effective strategies to reduce the risk for suicide.”
Each year, the Out of the Darkness Walk is one the largest Suicide Prevention Month activities held in the state. Volunteers organize the event to increase awareness of suicide prevention resources and the available support for at-risk individuals, loved ones of suicide survivors, and the public. On O‘ahu, more than 900 participants, including representatives from all branches of the military and students from local schools, will take part in this year’s event on Sept. 14 at Ala Moana Beach Park, Magic Island. Event and participation details are available at www.afsp.org/oahu.
For anyone experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, or anyone who knows someone who is, call the Crisis Line of Hawai‘i at (808) 832-3100 (O‘ahu), 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. More information about suicide prevention may be found online.
Additional Suicide Prevention Month activities planned include:
Sept. 7 (9 a.m.): Out of the Darkness Walk at Waimea Athletic Field Complex. Contact: Sheila Louis-Garcia, (808) 652-2149 or [email protected].
- Sept. 10 (9 a.m.): Joint Services Suicide Prevention Proclamation Signing and Human Awareness Ribbon at Navy Exchange parking lot, Bougainville Dr. Contact: Melanie Beachy, Military and Family Support Center, (808) 474-0089 (office), 808-723-4292 (cell), or [email protected].
- Sept. 10 (3:30 p.m.): Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell proclamation signing in the Mayor’s Conference Room at Honolulu Hale. Contact: Nancy Deeley, (808) 733-9238 or [email protected]
- Sept. 13 (10:30 a.m.): Gov. David Ige proclamation signing at the Hawai‘i State Capitol. Contact: Nancy Deeley, (808) 733-9238 or [email protected].
- Sept. 14 (8 a.m.–1 p.m.): Out of the Darkness Walk at Magic Island. Contact: Pua Kaninau-Santos, (808) 271-8582 or [email protected]