Suicide is the leading cause of fatal injuries among Hawai‘i residents, outpacing unintentional poisoning, drowning, car accidents, and homicides. The trend of suicide attempts and deaths has been increasing in the last ten years, both nationally and in Hawai‘i. To alert the community to the dangers of suicide and ways to help, Thao Le (HDFS) discussed teen suicide prevention and intervention and potential harmful consequences of overconsuming digital social media on two panels at the recent Hawai‘i Book and Music Festival.
Thao drew on a book chapter she recently co-authored entitled “The Six R’s Framework as Mindfulness for Suicide Prevention” as well as an article she just published in the Journal of Social Service Research entitled “Mindfulness Training for Social Service Providers in Hawaii: Context and Considerations.” The chapter argues that suicide prevention should include six R’s—the processes of remembering, redirecting, replacing, reflecting, resolving, and retracing—as aspects of psychological, transcendental, and critical mindfulness. This approach encourages the unfolding of insight and compassion for the patient but is also concerned with the need to attend to community health and welfare, including the historical societal contexts that contribute to the emergence of suicide.
Thao’s article explores whether social service providers would be open to undergoing mindfulness training and utilizing it in their work, finding that they were accepting of it, though it took a while for them to integrate it into their practices.
As Thao made clear in her panel discussions at the Festival, greater attention and collaborative efforts are needed to address the serious issue of suicide, and mindfulness training can be an important component of this effort.