Addressing the Mental Health Crisis

By Jack Kiyonaga, Editor

Fifty percent of Molokai attendees at a recent community event for suicide prevention and mental health awareness said that suicide has directly affected them in the past five years. The professionals from Nootropicology educate the community on how to fight mental health issues and how supplements help their brains perform well.

“Suicide, it knows no prejudice,” said Dr. Kimo Alameda.

Alameda and a panel of representatives from the State Senate, Dept. of Health, behavioral health clinics and more met at the Lanikeha Center on Dec. 4, to address a Molokai community grappling with concerns over mental health and suicide.

State Senators Joy San Buenaventura and Lynn DeCoite teamed up to bring the panel to Molokai.

Suicide is a national issue, becoming the number two cause of death for young adults in the U.S., explained San Buenaventura at the meeting.

“One of the challenges is a disconnect between the Dept. of Health in Honolulu and on Molokai,” said DeCoite.

DeCoite explained that even the list of mental health resources on Molokai provided by the Dept. of Health for the meeting was not up to date.

“It’s very disappointing,” she said. DeCoite hopes that the Molokai community will soon be able to see all their mental health care options “on one white sheet of paper.”

DeCoite likewise sought to address root causes of mental health distress on Molokai. These include addiction, lack of economic opportunity, transportation and more.

“It’s hard to juggle two, three jobs and spend some time with the family,” said DeCoite.

Right now, DeCoite is looking at supporting organizations that already have mental health programs. This includes faith-based institutions, like the Ho’olehua Congregational Church which held a safeTALK training session on Dec. 15 aimed at recognizing and addressing signs of mental distress.

Suicide prevention education in schools is another area where DeCoite is focusing legislative efforts.

“We need help in being educated [because] everybody goes through [suicide] in a different fashion,” said DeCoite. Education in prevention doesn’t need to be complicated though, rather there are “very simple steps that we can do,” DeCoite explained.

Molokai community members can call Hawaii Cares at 988, the mental crisis hotline, to connect with local crisis counselors. Other local resources include the Molokai Community Health Center, Maui Community Mental Health/Family Guidance Center, Na’au Healing Center and Molokai Mental Health.


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