Honolulu (KHON2) – The State Department of Health is sharing resources to prevent suicides in Hawaii, which claims the lives of more than 332 people per year.
“In Hawaii, on average 1 person die of suicide every other day,” says Dr. Daniel Galanis, DOH EMS & Injury Prevention System Branch. “Based on hospital billing data 2015 -2019, 63% of female suicide attempts in Hawaii is drug/medical poison related. That translates to more than 332 people per year. 79% of our suicide deaths in Hawaii are male, which translates to on average 152 deaths per year. With the highest age group between 20 to 59 years old. This is way too many.”
Dr. Galanis goes on to say that suicide is preventable, adding “When we share stories of recovery, hope, and promote connection between people, share resources, give support to each other. We prevent suicide. It is not about how a person died, it is about how a person has lived.”
Galanis explains how you can help, saying “An average suicide crisis is less than 4 minutes. During that few life changing minutes, if something can happen to help, a death could be prevented. That is why if someone and yourself are going through a hard time, locking up your fire arms, don’t stock pile medication at home, get rid of anything that could lead to harm, have resources available.”
Other tips? Make your home and your living space safe. Stay with the person, or ask someone to stay with you. Ask if everything is OK. Galanis sasy, “Your check in questions will not cause anyone to die of suicide. If you suspect someone is suicidal or if that person tells you he/or she is suicidal, the Key thing is to listen, always take someone seriously, never leave a person who is suicidal alone. Listen first, then Do the extra step: call the helpline with that person, maybe even accompany that person to the appointment, stay with them until they receive help.”
Anyone can call Hawaii Poison Center available 24/7, toll free, and speak to a trained nurse and pharmacologist for consultation. Hospitals also utilize the Poison Center as a resource.
Hawaii CARES: Hawaii CARES is not just for suicide, you can call for alcohol use, opioid/medication struggles, even COVID related stress. The person who is answering will be able to direct you to the next step.