Injury Prevention; Child/Adolescent Health; University-Community Partnerships; Primary Prevention


Community Health | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Public Health


Youth suicide is a serious, yet preventable, public health concern for ethnic minorities and rural communities. This paper describes the youth leadership model utilized by Hawai‘i’s Caring Communities Initiative (HCCI) and provides reflections on the important factors for success in implementing a youth and community advocacy project for youth suicide prevention. HCCI partnered with six youth and community organizations who serve ethnic minority and rural communities across the State of Hawai‘i to train youth leaders and community members in suicide prevention, in order to develop community awareness activities that are grounded in each community’s strengths and needs. The work of a youth leadership group on the island of Kaua‘i is provided as an example to demonstrate the positive rippling effects that health promotion activities can have when they are youth-driven. Important factors to consider for similar interventions that aim to engage youth to address health disparities include prioritizing relationships among all partners, building the capacity of community partners, and providing meaningful leadership opportunities for youth to serve as role models in their communities.