Creating space for Pacific wellbeing
Pacific suicide prevention needs to be led and driven from Pacific communities. There is a need to talk about suicide - there are appropriate and safe ways of talking. It's a myth that 'talking about it increases the risk'. In fact, talking about it increases help-seeking behaviour.
Suicide prevention is not solely a public health concern. There is a need to recognise a wide range of sector capabilities and networks that may be better placed to offer support and ‘tapping’ into links in the Pacific suicide prevention community.
There are many things which will contribute to effective suicide prevention for Pacific families and communities. We know for sure that there's an urgent and vital need to destigmatise suicide among Pacific communities, to raise awareness of suicide prevention in an appropriate way, and highlight clear pathways of how and where to seek help.
In doing so, everyone must:
- acknowledge spirituality and culture are vital components to include in Pacific suicide prevention strategies
- take action to decrease barriers and increase access to mental health services for Pacific peoples
- embrace community development approaches that increase protective factors and reduce risk factors
- support Pacific informal networks (families and friends) through community ambassadors and champions for change to lead suicide prevention in their communities
- promote messages of 'life' to young people and families in engaging ways, like through creative arts (dance, music, writing, drama)
- enhance the cultural competence of the workforce in social sectors with a focus on effective engagement
- upskill and train Pacific workers and families in suicide prevention
- grow the evidence-base of what works for Pacific through robust research and evaluation
- build, strengthen and support existing suicide prevention initiatives, rather than reinventing the wheel and working in silos
- support and grow services that are culturally and clinically appropriate, effective and accessible
- continue to work towards changing the way sucidial behaviours and mental illness are portrayed in media reporting
- support social and economic policies that reduce barriers for Pacific peoples to flourish
- ensure suicide postvention responses also contribute to suicide prevention
- increase our understanding of ways that alleviate and/or prevent the negative effects of bullying, in particular cyberbullying.
Le Va is leading New Zealand’s first ever Pasifika Suicide Prevention programme that aims to build strong resilient Pasifika families and communities, address at risk groups within Pasifika communities and assist those Pasifika families who have been part of the impact of suicide. Te Rau Matatini is very proud to be in aligned in a strong relationship with Le Va delivering Waka Hourua to our hapori communities. Mauri Ora!