Bad Stats

The state held its first statewide suicide prevention conference last week. Unfortunately, the cost of the two-day event was $150- so it's probably not surprising that many people who could use the knowledge that was presented simply didn't show up. But the local numbers are numbing. One person commits suicide every three days here in paradise, which makes suicide the second leading cause of death via injury in Hawaii. For every suicide, 12 are attempted here. And perhaps most staggering, of the 39 states which report such data, Hawaii has the second highest percentage of high school students who said they tried to kill themselves, according to the state Health Department.

Do you know what to look for as possible signs? Giving away prized possessions, talking about death, an apparent long-term depressive state, lack of interest in doing things- these all might be signs that should raise your alert button to get help quickly. There are numerous hotlines and websites that you can go to right now if you need help, or know someone who might need help. You might not be a savior, but apathy on your part or lack of awareness to obvious signals is hard to fathom nowadays with all of the help that's out there.

Whether its through training, counseling, medical help, or family intervention, even more can be done to reduce this stunning number in Hawaii. Years ago, suicide was something people whispered about, usually when it was too late. Nowadays, it seems to come to the surface before it's too late more often, but a lot of people still suffer the after-effects. You can be aware; you can help. Think about it...