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DOH NEWS RELEASE: National suicide prevention week (Sept. 7-13) raises awareness with statewide activities

Posted on Sep 4, 2015 in Latest Department News, Newsroom, Office of the Governor Press Releases

HONOLULU – To increase awareness about suicide prevention resources and support available to families, communities in Hawaii and across the nation are collaborating to host events during National Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 7-13. The week marks the days leading up to and after World Suicide Prevention Day on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. This year’s national theme is “Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives”.

“As a society, we need to do more to prevent suicide,” said Larry Walter, Prevent Suicide Hawaii Task Force, Chair. “Increasing public awareness of this health problem, including warning signs and risk factors, is one of the best prevention tools we have.”

Hawaii data on suicides

Suicide is a significant public health problem in Hawaii.

  • One person dies by suicide in Hawaii every two days.
  • Suicide was the most common cause of fatal injuries among Hawaii residents over the 5-year period 2010-2014, accounting for over one-quarter of all fatal injuries.
  • Suicide was the leading cause of injury-related deaths for most age groups – all but the very young and the very old – outpacing car crashes, homicide, unintentional poisoning and drowning.
  • It is the 2nd leading cause of death in Hawaii for those age 15-34.

National data on suicides:

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, with one suicide occurring on average every 12.8 minutes.
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among 15- to 24-years-olds.
  • An average of 1 young person dies by suicide every 1 hour and 48 minutes. The elderly make up 12.6 percent of the population, but comprise 15.7 percent of all suicides.
  • Approximately 900,000 Americans attempt suicide each year.
  • An estimated 4.6 million Americans are survivors of the suicide of a friend, family member, or loved one

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is sponsoring state-wide “Out of the Darkness” community walks to honor loved ones who died by suicide.


Oahu – Contact Pua Kaninau-Santos (808) 851-7786 [email protected]

Sept. 4 – Mayor’s Proclamation Signing (10 am.) Mayor’s office, Honolulu Hale

Sept. 10 & 11 – Pacific Regional Behavioral Health Summit at Tripler Army Medical Center. Conference website:

Sept. 12 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Out of the Darkness Walk, Ala Moana Beach Park

Sept. 13 (11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.) Suicide Prevention Joint Service Health Fair, FT Shafter, contact – LTC Tara Davis at (315) 448-8226

Hawaii Island:

East Hawaii: Contact: Jo Balberde-Kamalii (808) 895-8271, [email protected]

Sept. 8 – National Sign waving – Hamakua to Puna.

Sept. 10 – Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day, various homes

Sept. 19 – Hilo Pride Parade – 10 a.m., Hilo Bay Front

Sept. 23 – Hospice Hilo Survivors of Suicide Candlelight Vigil, Hospice of Hilo

Community PSAs throughout the month of September – Local Media


West Hawaii: Contact: Nancy Sallee at (808) 324-1815 or (808) 333-8988 [email protected]

Sept. 11 – Suicide survivor vigil – 5:30 p.m. – Old Airport beach pavilion, Kona

Sept. 19 – Suicide Awareness & Prevention WALK – 8:30 a.m. – WHT parking lot, Kuakini Hwy.

Maui:   Contact: Jeny Bissell – (808) 984-2136 or [email protected]

Sept. 8 – Mayor’s Proclamation Signing – 3:30 pm – Mayor’s Conference Room, County Building, Wailuku

Sept. 8-11, Suicide Prevention Campaign (school wide announcements with facts about suicide and signs of depression, Baldwin High School

Sept. 19 – Maui County Kokua Fair – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Front lawn of the County Building in Wailuku

Sept. 19 – Oct. 1 – “Help is Available” presentation, Baldwin High School

Kauai:  Contact: Gina Kaulukukui – (808) 651-6637 or [email protected].

Sept. 10 – Sign Waving at four locations

For more information on National Suicide Prevention Week, please contact Nancy Deeley at the Injury Prevention and Control Section of the Hawaii State Department of Health at: (808) 733-9238 or [email protected]


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