Personal loss. Life disruption. A lack of support from family and friends. They can all be risk factors for suicide, which is especially timely to know in September, National Suicide Prevention Month.
“There’s no one cause of suicide,” says Jane Chung-Do, an associate professor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Office of Public Health Studies. And “it’s a big myth” that you can plant the seed of committing suicide by simply inquiring about the possibility, she added, noting that research has shown it is best to directly ask someone if you believe he or she is contemplating suicide.
Chung-Do brought her expertise to the educational show, “FAPE Now!,” which can be viewed on ʻŌlelo. (FAPE is the acronym for Free Appropriate Public Education.) The segment will air on Saturday, September 22, at 2:30 p.m.
Social media use can be both a risk factor or a protective factor, Chung-Do noted. For some people, the use of social media can contribute to stress, anxiety or depression but, for others, social media can be a way to reach out and find connections.
Another important piece of advice is to enlist the help of others if someone says that he or she is thinking about suicide, said Chung-Do. Kids and teens should tell an adult, such as a parent, teacher or counselor. Adults can also find help at schools, including behavioral specialists, or via healthcare providers.
Others in the UH public health community are also involved in events during suicide prevention month. Jeanelle Sugimoto-Matsuda, an associate professor at the Office of Public Health Studies and JABSOM‘s Department of Psychiatry, worked to help organize Oʻahu‘s Out of the Darkness Walk on September 15.
The UH Counseling and Student Development Center offers a variety of counseling services, including 24/7 emergency access to counseling for students residing on the Mānoa campus via its Counselor-in-Residence Program.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
—By Theresa Kreif