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Statewide Virtual Events Seek to Raise Awareness of Suicide Prevention

The Hawai’i Department of Health is partnering with Prevent Suicide Hawai’i Task Force to host a series of online community events recognizing “Suicide Prevention Month” in Hawai’i. The virtual events will be held throughout September and October to raise public awareness about suicide prevention and the impact of suicide in Hawai’i.

The virtual events will also serve to connect survivors with “postvention” services — intervention activities after a suicide to support grieving family and friends who can potentially be at risk for suicide themselves. These services include safe media messaging, training for professionals, survivor outreach and family member support.

In Hawai‘i, suicide is the leading cause of fatal injuries for ages 15 to 64 and is the ninth leading cause of all deaths in the state. From 2015 -2019, 959 Hawai‘i residents died from suicide.

“Suicide is a serious, complex and preventable public health issue,” said Director of Health Bruce Anderson. “It 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 of suicide.”

Each year, the Out of Darkness Walk is one of 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. Last year, more than 900 participants, including representatives from all branches of the military and students from local schools took part in the walk.

This year, the fundraiser will become the Out of Darkness Experience and it will be held virtually on Saturday, Oct. 24. The virtual experience will include a recap of suicide prevention activities and a live chat to give people hope, healing and help. To register for the Out of Darkness Experience, visit https://www.afsp.org/hawaii.

To access crisis support, mental health resources, or substance use treatment services, call Hawai’i CARES at 1 (800) 753-6879 or text 741741. Resources are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

2020 Suicide Prevention Month Virtual and Sign-Waving Activities:

Maui:

  • Maui County Council proclamation. Contact: Danielle Bergan, danielle.bergan@mentalhealthhawaii.org
  • Oct. 24: Out of the Darkness Experience. Contact: Danielle Bergan, danielle.bergan@mentalhealthhawaii.org, and Kristin Mills, kristin.mills@doh.hawaii.gov

Kaua‘i:

  • Sept. 1 – 30: Rocks of Hope – Painted Rocks Virtual Activity with Messages of Aloha
  • Suicide Prevention Awareness Month Proclamation with the Prevent Suicide Kaua‘i Task Force and Community Partners (details to be announced)
  • Sign Waving Across Kaua‘i – multiple locations (details to be announced)
  • Oct. 24: Out of the Darkness Experience. Contact: Patricia Wistinghausen patricia@patriciawistinghausen.com (808) 346-7492 | Visit preventsuicidekauai.org for more info!

O‘ahu:

  • Sept. 1 – 30: Message of Aloha/Painted Rocks. Contact: Pua Kaninau-Santos pkshawaii@gmail.com
  • Sept. 10: Joint Services Suicide Prevention Proclamation Signing video. Contact: Stefany Garcia at stefany.m.garcia.naf@navy.mil
  • Oct. 24: Out of the Darkness Experience. Contact: Pua Kaninau-Santos, (808) 271-8582 or pkshawaii@gmail.com
  • Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell proclamation
  • Gov. David Ige proclamation

Hawai‘i Island:

  • Sept. 10 (4:30 to 5:30 p.m.): Sign-Waving at various locations, Hilo. Contact: Yolisa Duley, hipreventsuicide@gmail.com
  • Oct. 24: Out of the Darkness Experience. Contact: JoAnne Balberde-Kamali‘i, tiahonu@gmail.com

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2020/09/13/statewide-virtual-events-seek-to-raise-awareness-of-suicide-prevention/

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