Report: Suicide rates in Hawaii on the rise

Updated: Jun. 7, 2018 at 6:25 PM HST
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(image: CBS)
(image: CBS)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Staggering new numbers show suicide is rising in nearly every state across the United States.

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide in 2016.

In Hawaii, rates went up about 18-percent from 1999 to 2016.

"Suicide does tend to rise during the holidays or at least that's what some early reports said. So, we would have to watch, especially with people on the Big Island who have lost their homes. Now they have no place to have Christmas or Thanksgiving," said Hawaii Family Forum President Eva Andrade.

The report also states suicide rates went up more than 30% in half of the states since 1999.

Local suicide prevention experts say suicide rates also tend to be higher on neighbor islands.

Sources say a man registered to a shelter for lava evacuees on the Big Island hung himself in a wooded area outside the shelter last week.

Sources also say the man who was killed after his truck plunged 200 feet from cliff on Maui on Wednesday died by suicide.

"What's also known about neighbor islands is the difficulty in accessing mental health care, as well as other types of medical care. So, when you put those things together, it can be difficult to find help even when you want it," Trisha Kajimura, Mental Health America of Hawai'i Executive Director, said.

New York City's Medical Examiner ruled fashion designer icon Kate Spade's death a suicide by hanging.

Spade was seeking help.

But the according to the report, more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition.

"There's also life events that happen. That are traumatic for people such as loss of a relationship, death of a loved one, loss of a job, major things that happen in your life that are difficult to deal with. Those can all be risk factors," Kajimura said.

Signs to look out for are sudden depression, isolation, withdrawing from usual social activities, mood swings, and anger in men are more obvious than sadness.

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