Published on May 28, 2020
Wendy Dallas-Katoa, Varona Golda, Maire Kipa, Raniera Dallas, Helen Leahy
This paper presents the findings of a recently completed exploratory data gathering exercise on Māori suicide in Te Waipounamu (South Island of New Zealand). The data gathering exercise was conducted through Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, the Whānau Ora commissioning agency in the South Island. Data from the Coronial Services of New Zealand and relevant information from the District Health Boards were explored for the South Island. In-depth interviews with whānau (families) and a pilot survey on mental wellbeing were also conducted. Results from the exercise indicate that whānau access suicide intervention health services only after a suicide incident or suicide attempt. On the whole, these health services generally use a clinical/health-based approach. Whānau, however, pointed out that a culturally grounded whole-of-whānau approach is required to address issues around mental health and suicide, particularly among young whānau. Strengthening and maintaining cultural relational ties, networks, and whānau connections have been consistently identified by whānau in Te Waipounamu as important not only for Māori mental and emotional wellbeing more generally, but also for preventing suicide.
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