Pasifika organisation says suicide prevention key challenge
NZ organisation launches first Pasifika-focussed suicide prevention programme.
A New Zealand-based Pasifika organisation says suicide prevention is one of the key challenges facing Pacific communities.
Le Va has just hosted a two-day conference in Auckland to discuss Pacific-centric solutions to a range of issues, including suicide.
The chief executive of Le Va, Monique Faleafa, spoke to Amelia langford about a new suicide prevention initiative for Pasifika that it launched during the conference.
MONIQUE FALEAFA: We are really excited to launch our first Pacific suicide prevention programme for New Zealald and possibly in the world - we haven't seen one yet that specifically targets prevention of suicide in Pacific Island communities. And we are in touch with Maori, with Te Rau Matatini, so we are working together to really address resilient Pacific families, addressing the at risk groups within our Pacific communities and assisting families that have been part of the impact of suicide. I think we will be able for the first time reach out to some of our most vulnerable people that are sometimes not in a position to reach out for themselves. For the first time we are giving a voice to suicide prevention for Pasifika.
AMELIA LANGFORD: And what comes out of the conference, will that be able to be applied to other Pacific nations as well?
MF: Yeah, we are just focussing on New Zealand at the moment because you know, even within New Zealand, there's Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Tokelau, Tuvalu and we are trying to have an ethnic-specific approach to suicide prevention because we truly believe that the solutions are in our own communities. Suicide prevention is one of those approaches that you can address directly within communities and one community is our rainbow Pasifika community - LGBTIQ - we call them Lesbian, Gay, [Bisexual],Transgender, Intersexual and Queer. There is a high prevalence of suicide attempts in the rainbow community for Pasifika.
AL: And is the government doing enough to combat some of these issues or do we need more community initiatives?
MF: I think that the Whanau Ora type approach where we are working intersectorally to cut down the silos and put the family at the centre rather than the services is the way to go and the government are just starting on those initiatives so I think there is some good stuff but we are yet to see most of it come to fruition.
AL: And so what were the highlights, that you considered, of the conference?
MF: The highlight for me was our rainbow Pasifika community coming to the fore and saying 'this is a really big issue for us'. Sexual health and sexuality - it is time to talk. There has been so much negative stigma around that community and that really aligns with our suicide prevention approaches. I think also culture is key to all solutions across the board, having a culturally competent workforce that can deal with our Pacific families and culturally competent organisations and systems and processes so that our families are engaging with services.
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