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Ririnui: Maori feature in suicide prevention plan

Ririnui: Maori feature in suicide prevention strategy

Focus on reducing inqualities between Maori and non Maori in suicide prevention strategy

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I am happy to be here today to be part of this strategy launch.

In particular the strategy that we are launching today acknowledges that here in New Zealand as elsewhere, there are health inequalities between socio economic groups different ethnic groups, males and females.

It is further acknowledged that in countries like New Zealand, indigenous peoples have poorer health even when socio economic position is considered.

In recognition of Maori having higher rates of suicide than non-Maori, the Strategy places a high priority on reducing inequalities.

The Strategy acknowledges inequalities as a priority. Maori have higher rates of suicide than non-Maori and rates of suicide and suicide attempts are significantly and consistently higher in some Maori groups. It is also important to ensure that the gap between groups also declines.

The New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy 2006-2016, gives us all the opportunity to play an important role in the promotion of mental health and wellbeing. For both kaupapa and mainstream services attention to increasing the role of cultural development as a protective factor, increasing awareness and application of Maori models of health, developing better after-care and support systems for Maori who have made a suicide attempt and to strengthen mainstream responsiveness to Maori can contribute to reducing rates of suicidal behaviour.

Social and cultural factors are of primary importance in the exploration and explanation of suicide rates among Maori. A greater effort is needed to integrate social and cultural factors into mental health practice and suicide prevention initiatives. We need to strengthen and actively promote positive whanau relationships. Whanau Ora involves the provision and receipt of support and structure within the whanau, whilst being able to set and respect boundaries and limits.

It is important to promote and encourage help seeking behaviours e.g. from GP, Mental Health Services, Maori Mental Health Services, a friend, kaumatua or whanau member who takes a positive interest.

There is a need to invest in more evidence based research and interventions relating to Maori suicidal behaviour and Maori suicide prevention programmes that are designed to be relevant and effective for Maori: e.g. research that helps inform on both the risk and protective factors, informs on the impacts on whanau, hapu, iwi and evidence of culturally effective interventions.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the contributions made by all those involved, including the Kaumatua Group and the Maori Caucus members, in the development of the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy.


ENDS

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