Updated: September 24, 2022
Twenty Moloka‘i residents learned to be suicide prevention gatekeepers in training sessions Tuesday and Wednesday conducted by Maui Economic Opportunity Youth Services.
The four sessions held over the two days at MEO’s Kaunakakai office covered recognition of the warning signs of suicide, how to provide support to those contemplating suicide and connecting them to services. The content was patterned after suicide prevention sessions held at Moloka‘i High and Intermediate in April.
The training sessions were a follow up to a town hall on suicide prevention held July 27. Some at the town hall were interested in the program taught in the schools.
MEO Youth Services’ work with suicide prevention on Moloka‘i is funded mainly through a county grant with additional support from private funding.
The next step is the creation of a Prevent Suicide Coalition group on Moloka‘i in September, which is National Suicide Prevention Month.
Resources available for those contemplating suicide include:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a 24-hour hotline for individuals in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, 800-273-8255 (TALK).
- Hawaiʻi Cares, local professionals available 24 hours a day for those in mental health crisis and stress, 800-753-6879.
- National Crisis Text Line, texting service available 24 hours a day for those in crisis, text “ALOHA to 741-741.”
- The Trevor Project, resource for LGBTQ+ youth, call 866-488-7386 (4U-TREVOR), text 202-304-1200 or chat online at TrevorChat.org.
For more information about MEO Youth Services on Moloka‘i, call 808-553-5472.
According to a Suicide Prevention month proclamation signed by Governor David Ige for the month of September 2022, there were 979 documented suicide deaths among state residents between 2017 and 2021.
In Hawaiʻi, more than 80% of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable mental health condition, and only 34% of these victims were receiving treatment at the time of their death.
The proclamation notes that the stigma associated with mental illness and suicidal behavior can be eliminated through public awareness and education. The Prevent Suicide Hawaiʻi Task Force includes a partnership of government agencies, companies, nonprofit organizations, community groups, and individuals working collaboratively to develop strategies, coordinate activities, and monitor progress of suicide prevention efforts in the community.