Intentional and unintentional injuries come in many different forms. They can be caused by self-inflicted violence or by violence inflicted by others. These include but are not limited to bullying, sexual violence, adverse childhood experiences, and falls. Injuries can leave both physical and emotional bruises. Many people who suffer an injury may also have disability, mental health and financial problems that can last a lifetime. Fortunately, many injuries are preventable through public health, population based solutions.
Why It’s Important
More Americans aged 1-44 die from injuries and violence (motor vehicle crashes, suicide, or homicides) than from any other cause.1 In Hawai’i, injuries are responsible for more deaths than all other causes combined for people aged 1-44. During an average week in Hawai’i, 15 residents die from an injury, 103 are hospitalized, and approximately 1,640 residents are treated in emergency departments. Medical treatment for injuries in Hawaiʻi generates almost $455 million in hospital charges annually.2
What Is Known
Suicide is the leading cause of injury mortality among Hawaiʻi residents, followed by falls, poisoning, motor vehicle collisions, and drowning. Falls are responsible for over half of all non-fatal injuries ending in hospital admissions and almost a third of all non-fatal injuries ending in the emergency department visits among Hawaiʻi residents. The Hawaiʻi Injury Prevention Plan 2018-2023 focuses on drowning, falls, suicide and traffic accident prevention.2
Who Is at Risk
There are many factors that can affect the risk of injury and violence:
- Demographics, such as education, age, and sex
- Behaviors, such as alcohol/drug use or risk-taking
- Physical environment, such as safe homes and roadways
- Social environment, such as relationships and community cohesion
- Societal factors, such as cultural beliefs, laws, and regulations
How To Reduce Risk
The risk of injury can be reduced in a large number of ways.
- For unintentional injuries, prevention methods may include changes to the environment; improvements in technology and product safety; legislation and enforcement of safety laws; education, behavior change; and technology and engineering.
- For intentional injuries, prevention efforts may include changes in social norms surrounding violence, policy changes that address the social and economic conditions that are associated with violence, and improvements in skills such as conflict resolution and coping.
Page last updated July 29, 2022
1Injuries and violence are leading causes of death. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/animated-leading-causes.html. Published February 28, 2022.
2Hawaii State Department of Health Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention System Branch, Injury Prevention Advisory Committee. Hawaii Injury Prevention Plan 2018-2023. Injury Prevention and Control Section, 2020. https://health.hawaii.gov/hipp/files/2020/01/Hawaii-Injury-Prevention-Plan-HIPP-2018-2023.pdf