One life lost is one too many
The Chief Coroners Report on provisional suicide rates was released today sadly highlighting 685 people lost to whānau and friends in Aotearoa, within the year. From the data, Māori had a standardised death rate of 28.23 deaths per 100,000 persons compared to 13.46 of non Māori.
Though, there is encouragement in the Government prioritising Suicide Prevention, with a new Suicide Prevention Strategy underway.
The statistics continue to demonstrate the need to prioritise Māori suicide prevention and to better understand the issues affecting Māori communities. Dr Maria Baker, CEO, Te Rau Ora says, “ we can only do this by including Māori in discussions to identify our issues and to determine the best solutions going forward”.
Dr Kahu McClintock, Manager, Te Kiwai Rangahau says “Suicide prevention approaches for Māori delivered by non Māori tend to be considered in the domain of unsuccessful Western models and approaches that struggle to address the high suicide rates for Māori”.
McClintock goes further by saying “ the big message from the evidence we have captured since 2014 advocates Māori Suicide Prevention approaches are more successful when responsive to whānau and led by community with a focus on strengths and cultural bases for overall health and wellbeing”
The ongoing call to empower Māori communities is a not a new one and it continues to be a goal to build Māori capability and capacity to improve social and emotional wellbeing. This includes considering the social factors that lead to deeper issues and the need for community-led, culturally based solutions.
Tio Sewell, Manager of Te Au, National Māori Suicide Prevention Centre, has a team who work at the whānau and community level, with Tiaki Whānau Tiaki Ora, a programme that believes all whānau possess Champions who can make a difference to whānau wellbeing.
Sewell says Whānau are the experts about whānau and therefore the solutions to their own wellbeing. “Providing whānau with the tools and ways to explore their own wellbeing, connecting whānau with and to each other, as well as increasing their understanding about suicide, where and how to seek support is important”. Resources therefore need to be directed to where it can be of most benefit, directly to whānau in their homes.
Te Kiwai Rangahau( Research & Evaluation) and Te Au (National Māori Suicide Prevention Centre) are units of Te Rau Ora.
Te Au National Māori Suicide Prevention Centre https://teauMāori .com/
Te Rau Ora: https://terauora.com/