Suicide Prevention Town Hall

MEO News Release 

Photo courtesy of MEO.

About 60 Molokai residents filled Kalaiakamanu Hou Church Hall last Wednesday evening to discuss suicide and prevention in the tight-knit community during a town hall organized by Maui Economic Opportunity’s Youth Services.

Earlier in the day, about 20 residents participated in a “Cruz Around Town” sign waving and walking through town to bring awareness to suicide prevention. The walk went from the gym to the library.

MEO Youth Services brought its suicide youth prevention program to Molokai with a $16,000 Maui County grant offered late in the fiscal year. In the spring, Youth Services staff visited Molokai High and Intermediate School to work with students on the warning signs of suicide and how to help others and themselves.

The complimentary Kaohi program, funded through a $100,000 grant from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation, got underway in June with its summer program for high school and intermediate students. Kāohi offers suicide, bullying, drug, alcohol and tobacco prevention activities through after-school and school break programs for summer, fall, winter and spring break programs.

The town hall “Let’s Talk Story About Hope, Help and Healing” was organized by MEO Youth Services in partnership with the County of Maui and E Ola Hou Prevent Suicide Maui County Task Force. Presentations by experts on suicide prevention and youth were followed by open discussion.

The meeting, which was supposed to run from 4:30 to 6 p.m., ended at 7 p.m. In the wake of a recent suicide, the dialogue was spirited and heartfelt. There was a consensus that the town hall was a starting point, that Youth Services consider offering its in-school program to the general community and that a Prevent Suicide Coalition branch should be organized on Molokai.

“Plans are underway to host training for parents and guardians so they can experience the prevention curriculum firsthand,” said Dane Ka‘ae, director of Youth Services. “A date is forthcoming for the first Coalition meeting.”

For more information about MEO programs on Molokai, contact the Molokai Branch at (808) 553-3216.


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