August 27, 2022, 2:30 p.m. HST
*Updated August 27, 8:02 a.m.
Twenty Moloka’i residents learned how to be suicide prevention gatekeepers during training sessions Tuesday and Wednesday conducted by Maui Economic Opportunity Youth Services.
The four sessions held over the two days at the MOE’s Kaunakakai office covered recognizing the warning signs of suicide, how to provide support to those contemplating suicide and connecting them to services. The content was modeled after suicide prevention sessions held at Moloka’i High and Intermediate in April.
The training sessions followed a public meeting on suicide prevention held on July 27th. Some at City Hall were interested in the curriculum being taught in the schools.
MEO Youth Services’ suicide prevention work in Moloka’i is primarily funded by a county grant with additional support from private funds.
The next step is the creation of a Prevent Suicide Coalition on Moloka’i in September, National Suicide Prevention Month.
Resources available to those considering suicide include:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a 24-hour helpline for people in emotional distress or in a suicidal crisis, 800-273-8255 (TALK).
- Hawaiʻi Cares, local professionals available 24 hours a day for people in mental health crisis and stress, 800-753-6879.
- National Crisis Text Line, a 24-hour texting service for people 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’s 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 Hawaii, more than 80% of people who die by suicide have a mental health condition that can be diagnosed and treated, and only 34% of those 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, businesses, nonprofit organizations, community groups, and individuals working collaboratively to develop strategies, coordinate activities, and monitor the progress of community suicide prevention efforts.