1 Aug 2016

Pacific suicide reporting has ripple effect

5:02 pm on 1 August 2016

There's been a warning the Pacific island media's reporting of suicide can trigger suicide in Pasifika communities in New Zealand and Australia and the media's being offered help to change its ways.

The warning comes from Le Va, a New Zealand group working to prevent suicide in Pasifika communities around New Zealand.

It has come up with a set of media guidelines to help New Zealand's Pasifika media practice safe reporting and also provide help.

Le Va Chief Executive Monique Faleafa

Le Va Chief Executive Monique Faleafa Photo: Le Va / Tongan High Commission, Canberra

Le Va's chief executive Monique Faleafa said reporting of suicide in Pacific island countries was freer than in New Zealand and the stories were being picked up elsewhere.

"With social media it doesn't matter what country it's on, it comes to our phones within seconds. It has a huge ripple effect impact across the region actually to Australia and New Zealand where our big Pacific populations are. Rather than be reactionary and focused on loss of life, we would love the media to be more talking about resilience and hope."

Dr Faleafa said Le Va's guidelines were helping to shift attitudes to talking about suicide in New Zealand.

Le Va was offering workshops on its suicide reporting guidelines to Pacific island media.