Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television

since 1987

New Pasifika Campaign to Combat High Suicide Rates

Raising awareness of Pacific mental health is the focus of a new campaign launched by health services provider Vaka Tautua called Pasifika Like Minds, Like Mine.

This comes in light of alarming statistics which reveal that New Zealand has one of the worst youth suicide rates in the developed world.

Vaka Tautua’s Northern Regional Manager Kristina Sofele says the campaign’s been adapted to suit Pacific people and “help reduce stigma and discrimination in our community”.

A number of resources have been made available including online video content and a set of radio guidelines to provide an understanding on how to approach the topic carefully.

“Suicide is one of the worst outcomes that we’ve seen and so that’s running alongside people who are experiencing distress or mental illness but things can be done a lot earlier, people can be supportive in a way that is more helpful and so this project aims to reach people early rather than later.

“We have a lot of families who have said to us that they don’t know what to do – they’re scared, they’re worried, they also don’t wanna take their family member to a doctor because they’re worried that they may go through the mental health system so this is all aimed at helping those easier grassroot conversations.”

The campaign is part of a 5 year plan coordinated by the Ministry of Health.

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