TODAY |

Māori-led suicide prevention programme for men launched today to tackle 'Government inaction'

Māori-led suicide prevention initiatives are launching today targeting Māori men and men in general.

The initiatives include a new online resource to help people recognise if loved ones may need help, community-led "kōrero circles" and new health promotion campaigns targeting men where they are for work or play.

The chair of the National Māori Authority, Matthew Tukaki, said the projects wanted to tackle "Government inaction and more of the same business model of mental health service" that did not address the daily challenges people faced.

"We need to understand that suicide is not just about mental health - it's about true prevention, addressing the elephant in the room which is the challenge of the daily struggle of life," he said in a statement.

"It's communities who know what communities want, and if we are going to achieve change, then it will be those communities who create the momentum."

As well as mental health resources, he said the online materials would include non-mental health-related referral links and resources about relationships, financial matters and housing.

He said it also included resources for setting up a network of community-led and -run talking or kōrero circles.

"It's often in these age-old environments that people tend to open up and others tend to render help. That's why the talking and listening skills side of things will be so important."

Mr Tukaki said the initiatives had been designed for all New Zealanders, with a particular focus on men and Māori men.

Speaking about the new health promotion campaigns, Mr Tukaki said it is important the messages are integrated into men's lives as they often do not seek help directly from GPs or mental health professionals.

The initiative was led by the National Māori Nga Ngaru and the New Zealand Māori Council, with no funding from the Government or DHBs.

Source: TVNZ