Hawaii State Department of Health

Hawaii State Department of Health
Garrett Lee Smith State

In Hawaii there were 43 suicides among children aged 10 to 19 years from 2004 to 2008, making suicide the 2nd leading cause of death for this age group, after car crashes.  Hawaii, through the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH), Injury Prevention and Control Program (IPCP), is using funds from the $1.5 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to train people who have direct contact with youth –gatekeepers – to recognize the signs of suicide and to intervene. The goal is to reduce suicides and suicide attempts among youth.

Hawaii’s project – called the Hawaii Gatekeeper Training Initiative (HGTI) – focuses on suicide intervention training for people in three agencies that already impact significant numbers of youth ages 10-24 years in both school and community settings. These agencies and their programs are the Department of Education (PEER Education Program and School-based Behavioral Health), the Department of Health (Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division – agencies contracted to provide drug and alcohol treatment services for youth), and the Honolulu Police Department (Emergency Psychological Services/Jail Diversion Program).

HGTI is accomplishing these goals using three training curricula: Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) with adult populations, SafeTALK with police officers, and Signs of Suicide (SOS) with youth populations. Implementing suicide intervention training using these curricula and focusing on these target populations will allow HGTI to enhance state level infrastructure for youth suicide prevention efforts and enhance youth suicide prevention efforts.