In Hawaii, one person commits suicide every two days. Data collected from 2009 to 2013 shows suicide was the most common cause of fatal injuries among Hawaii residents, accounting for over one-quarter of all fatal injuries.

It takes a collaborative effort to address suicide. A number of divisions and sections within the Hawaii State Department of Health in conjunction with the Prevent Suicide Hawaii Task Force and community-based agencies will present the annual Prevent Suicide Hawaii conference themed “E Malama Ola: Caring for Life: Sustaining communities, families, and individuals through life‐ promoting actions.” The conference will be on Thursday, April 30, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Waikoloa Beach Marriot Resort and Spa in Kona, and will also feature pre- and post- conference sessions.

The conference is organized by members of the Prevent Suicide Hawaii Task Force (PSHTF), a state, public, and private partnership of individuals, organizations, military and community groups working in collaboration to provide leadership in suicide prevention efforts in Hawaii. The aim of the conference is to bring together a community of survivors, advocates, educators, policymakers, and health professionals to address the issue of suicide. The conference will increase awareness of suicide, enhance skills to respond to those at risk, and improve abilities to help those who have survived the loss of a loved one.

The 2015 keynote speaker is Jerry Reed Ph.D., MSW, director of the Suicide Prevention Research Center (SPRC), the nation’s only federally supported resource center devoted to advancing suicide prevention. Reed, who has been working in the field of suicide prevention since 1997, provides state and local officials, grantees, policymakers, interested stakeholders and the general public with assistance in developing, implementing and evaluating programs and strategies to prevent suicide. He also serves as the director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Injury, Violence and Suicide, overseeing multiple projects and also serves as co-director of the Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention with partners at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Pre- and post-conference suicide prevention trainings are included in the registration fee. On Wednesday, April 29, a pre-conference session titled, “Ask, Care, Escort Suicide Intervention (ACE/SI)” training for trainers will be available for both military and civilians. On Friday, May 1, the post-conference training in “Mental First Aid” is being coordinated by Mental Health America Hawaii. Both training sessions will be held at the Waikoloa Beach Marriot Resort and Spa.

In addition to the DOH Injury Prevention and Control Section, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division, and Adult Mental Health Division, conference sponsors include The Queen’s Medical Center and Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center.

Registration is now open at http://www.Waikoloa2015.com or http://waikoloaconference.weebly.com/registration.html

Hotel reservations can be found at https:/resweb.passkey.com/go/sptf2015