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DOH News Release: Department of Health highlights youth-focused empowerment resources with public awareness campaign

Posted on Jul 26, 2021 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU – The adolescent years are an important time as youth transition to adulthood, making it critical to promote life-long physical, mental, social, and emotional health. The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) recently launched a public awareness campaign to highlight TeenLink Hawaii, a youth empowerment, outreach, and education program that provides information and referral services for local teens.

“COVID-19 compounded issues for Hawai‘i teens by affecting stress levels, sleep patterns, grades, eating habits, and social media behavior,” said Punahou Aina, DOH child and youth health specialist. “DOH recognizes the need to address these issues and encourages teens, parents, caregivers, and educators to use the extensive resources found on the TeenLink Hawaii website and Instagram page.”

Included on is the Health and Wellness Toolkit, which is a comprehensive resource created by teens, college students, and young adults. The toolkit has information and tips on physical and mental health, stress, succeeding in school, substance abuse, and contacts for support services. It has a COVID-19 section with information on vaccinations and staying healthy and connected.

The public awareness campaign, which runs through September, includes TV, radio, and digital ads featuring top local comedian and social media influencer Tumua Tuinei. The former University of Hawaiʻi football player brings his brand of character comedy, depicting both the teen and parents, highlighting the importance of communication and directing viewers to the TeenLink Hawaii website.

“I was happy to be asked to help the Department of Health and TeenLink Hawaii in promoting these youth-focused empowerment resources in the best way I know how—through comedy,” said Tuinei. “Humor and laughter bring people together and make even the most difficult topics easier to talk about.”

The TeenLink Hawaii website also encourages teens to call Hawaii CARES 1-800-753-6879 or text the Crisis Text Line (text ALOHA to 741741) for crisis support, mental health resources, or substance use treatment services.

TeenLink Hawaii is a program of the Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaii. For more information and resources, visit

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