Consistently, young people, males and Māori have experienced disproportionately high rates of suicide in Aotearoa since these losses have been counted.
For Māori, the loss to suicide has affected many whānau, with losses amongst our youth and young adults, in both males and females.
In the recent Chief Coroners annual provisional statistics for suicides, losses experienced by Māori demonstrated an increase by:
- 51% in the year from 2017/18 to 2018/19
- 51 % in the five years from 2014/15 to 2018/19
- 65 % in the decade from 2009/10 to 2018/2019
We propose for every loss by suicide, there are at least 10-20 members of whānau immediately and personally affected by the loss, who also need our support.
For a comprehensive Māori suicide prevention and postvention approach. Efforts would include:
- The recognition that culture, identity and environment are important markers of wellbeing for Māori.
- Suicide prevention programmes by Māori for Māori, privilege matauranga Māori, te reo me ona tikanga, foster hope, centre on building whānau capacity and wellbeing as well as increase understanding about suicide and how to give and receive support.
- Increasing the evidence base of what works for Māori led by Māori and established within Kaupapa Māori and Māori centred methodologies will have better understanding of Māori sociocultural contexts and meanings.
- Recognising the mana of each community in developing the most appropriate responses to suicide and its related risk factors. This means Māori control, Māori leading design, delivery, and evaluation of programmes and strategies for Māori.
- Acknowledging the challenges of a colonial history, of insidious inequities, socioeconomic issues, institutional biases and racism is the constant threat to the balance of Māori individuals and communities.
- Recognising the wealth of tradition, strength – resilience, stories and experience among Māori communities to help guide the solutions that best meet their needs. Including the responses to suicide and in postvention to help heal and prevent further losses.
- Raising the opportunities for solutions that lie in our young people to be actualized. It is where there will be a sense of hope and purpose, energy, innovation and creativity to ensure a future generation that is strong.
- Government agencies and across sector groups can play significant roles in ensuring the power is with Māori, and resources directed to where they are most needed, in a manner that is equitable and fair.