Youth wave signs for suicide prevention

Maui Economic Opportunity Youth Services continued a decade-long tradition of sign waving to bring community awareness to suicide on Tuesday along Kaahumanu Avenue fronting the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center.

The event was held to mark National Suicide Prevention Month in September. It drew 30 youth, families touched by suicide and members of the Prevent Suicide Hawai’i Task Force on Maui, according to a news release.

Drivers honked horns as they passed the line with signs with messages including “Hey you, there’s always someone you can talk to . . .”; “Suicide Prevention, Call 988”; “You Matter.” Signs also had pictures with remembrances, such as “Daddy and Me: I Miss & Love You.” Another banner had pictures of 11 people with the message: “You Are Loved, You Are Missed, You Are Remembered.”

Youth Services works with more than 800 intermediate and high school youth through in-school, after-school and fall-, winter-, spring- and summer-break programs. Suicide awareness and prevention, along with community involvement, are key components of Youth Services’ programs on Maui and Molokai.

Youth Services’ programs are designed to provide alternative drug-free activities to increase leadership skills and protective factors against harmful and destructive behaviors. Youth participate in activities connecting with Hawaii’s cultures and covering environmental awareness, volunteerism and civic engagement and advocacy, MEO said.

For more information about the program, which is offered at no cost with transportation provided, call (808) 243-4315 oremail dane.ka’ae@meoinc.org.

Resources available for those contemplating suicide include:

• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a 24-hour hotline for individuals in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, (800) 273-8255 (TALK).

• Hawaii Cares, local professionals available 24 hours a day for those in mental health crisis and stress, (800) 753-6879.

• National Crisis Text Line, texting service available 24 hours a day for those in crisis, text “ALOHA to 741-741.”

• The Trevor Project, resource for LGBTQ+ youth, call (866) 488-7386 (4U-TREVOR), text (202) 304-1200 or chat online at TrevorChat.org.



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