A Call For Urgent Perinatal Mental Health Investment – E Tipu e Rea

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E Tipu E Rea Whānau Services is calling on the new Government to take heed and listen to health providers calling for better investment into the area of Perinatal Mental Health. As an organisation we consistently see the negative outcomes of underinvestment in what is a critical time for whānau. We are calling for a Te Tiriti centred approach that ensures that Wāhine Māori who are disproportionately overrepresented in maternal suicide statistics alongside Pasifika women, who also have the highest rates of antenatal depression are prioritised.

Āhuritia Te Rito – It Takes A Village; a report by the Helen Clarke Foundation released in 2022 found Wāhine Māori are three times more likely to die from maternal suicide than other ethnicities in Aotearoa. This statistic should not be forgotten and we must see better investment across the board in protective factors for hapū whānau. Increasing investments in cultural and societal factors that contribute to poor perinatal mental health alongside economic factors is needed immediately.

CEO Zoe Hawke explains “In our day-to-day mahi we have been constantly faced with hapū whānau who have had little to no community support services for their mental wellbeing during a crucial time in their lives. What support they have found has been desperately under-resourced and not tailored to suit hapūtanga; rather they have been more mainstream oriented. We need investment in social supports that target the ‘missing middle’ or those suffering from ‘mild to moderate’ mental distress, we need more prevention work. A whole-of-government strategy for Māori and cross-sector collaboration and alignment is urgently required. We need and deserve more kaupapa Māori service investment – such as the work that has been started by Te Aka Whai Ora. We need to continue with the good work set out in Whakamaua: Māori Health Action Plan by Manatū Hauora to ensure equitable outcomes for target populations such as ours. It is truly distressing that we might continue to see inequitable outcomes for our Wāhine Māori in this space if we don’t keep the focus”.