sunset on the beach
(Photo courtesy: Deborah Goebert)

In Hawaiʻi, one death from suicide occurs nearly every other day. Suicide is the leading cause of fatal injuries for those ages 15 to 64 and is the 10th leading cause of all deaths in the state. Suicide can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families and communities. To call attention to this important issue, events are being held statewide throughout September for National Suicide Prevention Month. This year’s theme is “Hope Through Action.”

Hawaiʻi has identified suicide prevention as a priority and set a bold goal of reducing suicidality 25% by 2025 though hope, help and healing efforts,” said Deborah Goebert, professor and associate director of research in psychiatry at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). “Suicide prevention is a priority at JABSOM.”

Goebert is co-chair of the state’s Prevent Suicide Hawaiʻi Task Force. She said, “Hope includes building our strengths, self-care and resilience; help is having real conversations about mental health and suicide and connecting to support; healing includes the grief process, forgiveness and passing life forward.”

She encourages people to take time to learn more about suicide. ““Throughout the pandemic, levels of isolation and loss, distress, grief and anxiety have risen, and Hawaiʻi has seen increased usage of crisis phone and text lines as well as mental health services. There are a number of awareness opportunities this month across the state.”

Join the virtual walk, attend an educational event or practice self-care.


  • September 18: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Hawaiʻi hosted the Out of Darkness Hawaiʻi virtual event to raise awareness. View the virtual program.
  • November 20: International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, Hawaiʻi Chapter of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Register online.

(Contact: Patricia Wistinghausen, or (808) 346-7492)


  • September 30: 2nd Annual Maui Suicide Prevention Mini Conference, “Embrace Cultural and Social Protective Factors in Suicide Prevention,” 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Register online.

Goebert will also appear as a guest on KHON2’s Modern Wahine to speak on suicide prevention September 26, 7 p.m. on KHII with encore presentations on KHON, September 26 at 11:05 p.m. and October 2 at 9:30 p.m.

Important resources