Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. In 2017 Hawaiʻi’s state ranking was 35 and its age-adjusted suicide rate was 13.49 per 100,000 individuals, slightly higher than the nationʻs, which as 13.26. While suicide occurs in all demographic groups, it is preventable.
On Wednesday, March 14, 2018 approximately 250 students, employees and community members participated in Honolulu Community Collegeʻs 3rd Annual Out of Darkness Campus Walk, an event of the American Foundation for Suicide Preventionʻs (AFSP). “This event is held each year on campuses across the country to raise awareness for suicide prevention, and show support for survivors of a suicide loss,” says Kimberly Gallant, Licensed Clinical Social Worker of Honolulu Community College’s Wellness Center.
Gallant shared that, “The Wellness Center is in a unique position to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, offer hope and help to those who are struggling with mental health issues, and save lives.” Walkers were invited to talk with Wellness Center Staff and learn about local community resources that are available to support and comfort survivors of suicide loss, those with lived experience, as well as those who may be struggling with a mental health condition. The event raised awareness about depression, and suicide, and provided support and comfort to those who have lived experience and/or lost a loved one to suicide.
The 1-mile walk started at 12 noon on the campus mall, took walkers on to Kokea Street and Dillingham Boulevard looped back on to the campus mall.Student groups and employees from various programs and departments were represented in this yearʻs event, including Automotive, Carpentry, Administration of Justice, Cosmetology, MELE, Student Life and Development, and Security. This yearʻs event raised more than $2,500.
The Honolulu Out of Darkness Walkis one of almost 400 communities being held nationwide this year. Gallant stated that, “Honolulu Community College is proud to be a leader in the state of Hawai’i for the AFSPʻs Campus Walks.”
The event also included a Resource Fair where community resource organizations could provide information about their services to the campus community. The fair ran from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Resource participating organizations included:
- Kalihi-Palama Health Center
- Domestic Violence Action Center (DVAC)
- Legal Aid
- Waikiki Health
- Life Foundation
- The Navy
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Hawaii Disability Rights Center
- Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaiʻi
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