Pacific mātua play an integral role in navigating families and the broader Pacific community through changing social and economic environments. Securing the support and understanding of mātua is a necessary pre-requisite of family-centred and community-oriented suicide prevention strategies. As gatekeepers mātua can play a pivotal role in facilitating attitudinal shifts.
Vaka Tautua focused on the wellbeing and support of Pacific people - particularly in relation to mental health, disability and older people's support.
Their Waka Hourua programme was in workshops conducted with Samoan mātua to:
- raise awareness of the issues relating to suicide in the Samoan community, starting with extensive stakeholder engagement with wide-ranging groups for effective workshop design.
- provide mātua the opportunity to lead attitudinal shifts toward suicide and mental illness, including de-stigmatising mental illness, suicide ideation and self-harm.
- allow mātua and clinicians to explore and develop strategies for creating more resilient and emotionally healthy families and communities and responding effectively to disclosures of suicidal ideation or self harm.
These workshops also provided appropriate information in Samoan, and supported mātua through appropriate facilitators and ‘train the trainer’ style suicide prevention training. Vala Tautua maximised the effectiveness of these workshops through their strong relationships and collaboration with other Pasifika health providers.