“Suicide in New Zealand is beyond out of control and not enough is being done to address it.” These were the words spoken by the Chairman of the National Maori Authority, Matthew Tukaki, at a forum in Auckland this evening. Tukaki, who is also the Chair of Australia’s Peak Body, Suicide Prevention Australia and Chair of the Auckland District of New Zealand Maori Council was launching a new online resource called “How to have a Korero: a conversation can save a life”.
“The facts are simply these: The rate of suicide in New Zealand is now the highest on record and when it comes to Maori males, it is now the highest rate per head of population around the world. While we wait for the (very) long awaited recommendations of the mental health review we need to cut out all the hui and start the doey.” He said
“Here is another fact. Not all suicide are associated with mental illness and many people, males especially, never present to a help seeking service or their G.P. That’s because for them it’s not about mental health it’s about the daily struggle of life and we need to be doing more to support people who are doing it tough.” He said
“By doing it tough I mean people struggling with relationship breakdowns and marriages ending, the loss of a job or the failure of their small business – and let’s not forget those kiwis who are struggling under a mountain of debt and the cost of living. Of course mental health is an issue but the other challenge is that as we, as kiwis, become more comfortable talking about the way we feel and reaching out we need to know that there will be a response – that when we pick up that phone or ask in person that help will be there. With more pressure on an already depleted mental health, social services and counselling workforce we need to put everything on the table.” He said
“This new resource is simple and to the point – it talks about the things to watch out for that signal someone is in trouble such as changes in routine and behavior. It talks about how to start a conversation, how to keep it going and what to do next – importantly it offers up more than just the traditional Lifeline phone numbers – because, as I have said time and time again, it’s not just about mental health.” Tukaki said.
Tukaki indicated that there was no need to delay and the excuse of the Ministry of Health around the long awaited ten year suicide prevention strategy were a nonsense as was the non-existence of an evaluation framework, investment into research and evaluation as well as a cohesive workforce development plan:
“In launching this resource the National Maori Authority is saying too much hui and not enough doey – so we are taking action right now. Simple things like this can make all the difference.
The resource is free of charge and can be downloaded @ https://www.maorieverywhere.com/howtohaveakorero