MEO Youth Services hosts town hall on suicide and prevention

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July 14, 2022

A Moloka‘i Suicide Prevention & Awareness Day on Wednesday, July 27, culminates in a town hall gathering at Kalaiakamanu Hou Church Hall in Kaunakakai from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Maui Economic Opportunity Youth Services in partnership with the County of Maui and E Ola Hou Prevent Suicide Maui County Task Force is staging the “Let’s Talk Story About Hope, Help, and Healing” town hall and other events that day.

The town hall will host open discussions on the needs of the community and ways to help support and connect individuals at-risk of suicide to local, state and national resources. The goal is to provide a safety net for the community of Moloka’i.

At the town hall, MEO staff will share their experiences teaching MEO’s bullying and suicide prevention curriculum at Moloka‘i High and Middle School and discuss topics, such as the stigma of suicide and risk and protective factors.

Other speakers include E Ola Hou task force members; Danielle Bergan, Mental Health America of Hawaii Maui Community Coordinator; Marcie Ventura, school-based behavioral health and resource and support for the public school’s Canoe Complex; and Wendy Schwartz, Community Engagement Partnerships Coordinator for the Veterans Affairs Pacific Islands Health Care System.

Light pupu and drinks will be served. A Keiki Corner for child care during the town hall will be available. Transportation also can be arranged by calling (808) 243-4315.

Earlier in the day from 2 to 3 p.m., there will be a sign-waving “Cruz around Town” walk through Kaunakakai, from the gym to the library. Residents are invited to join the sign-waving and walk. There also will be training and presentations for public school administrators, teachers and first responders.

The town hall and other suicide prevention activities are part of MEO’s effort to bring its youth suicide, bullying, substance abuse, alcohol and smoking prevention programs to Moloka‘i. Youth Services staff has taken its evidence-based prevention curriculum into classrooms at Moloka‘i High and Middle School and started the Kāohi (to prevent) program, which offers after-school and summer, fall, winter and spring break activities.

In this inaugural summer of Kāohi, youths have built a cardboard castle for MEO Head Start preschoolers, learned about vehicle maintenance and how to change a tire, assisted with food distribution and participated in recreational activities.

For more information about the town hall or Kāohi, call (808) 243-4315.

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