Molokai suicide rates are five times higher than the rest of the state
Alarming stats about residents, teenagers and adults taking their own lives is raising eyebrows.
Molokai is known for its inviting shores and a tight knit community- around 7,000 people call this place home. Some say it's one of the last islands where that feeling of old Hawai'i still lingers. But alarming statistics about residents, teenagers and adults taking their own lives is raising eyebrows.
"You have the absolute interfacing of your modern culture fast pace jobs and all that colliding with a very old-school very old country way of understanding and when you get backlash it doesn't mix," Dr. Hale Akamine, Family Ministries Center Kapolei, said.
Akamine will be speaking at a conference on Moloka'i this weekend. He says unlike other islands, there are no suicide prevention programs or services. Majority of suicides have resulted in death by hanging.
"They're the highest level of unemployment, so there's no employment there, there's no sense of worthfulness," he said.
Akamine says when it comes to teens, they seldom will let on to parents something is wrong instead trusting in their peers.
"We need to make the kids aware that when their friends mentioned suicide, don't brush them off. To also understand that sometimes good friends have to squeal," Akamine said.
He'll be coaching church pastors and local organizations on island on preventative tactics to pass on to the community.
Akamine also came up with an acronym CHAOS.
C: Comment - your friend makes a comment about death or dying
H: History - you know your friend has history of struggling emotionally and depression anxiety.
A: Abuse of substances specifically those drugs that are stimulating.
"The signs is pay attention to if they make that comment about death or dying if you're close to them you'll see some of these pop out," Akamine said.
He also wants to inform residents about doctor patient counseling sessions available online, which he says could be key to prevention, especially among men.
"There's less of a resistance then if you have to go into some professional office building feeling like everybody's looking at you. Now you can do it in your car you can do it in your home or your office at work anywhere," Akamine said.
An active push to heal a community in need.
Community members say substance abuse is also on the rise on Moloka'i, which could also be contributing to those alarming rates.