Solutions are within Māori Communities
While the causes of suicide are many and complex, it is clear that a collective effort is required to reduce all suicide rates in New Zealand as well as insisting on a targeted approach that is culturally and generationally appropriate. Suicide Prevention is about action, intervention and strategies that take into account Māori historical context, social networks, culture, whānau and community resources.
An alignment to the values and orientation of Māori culturally-tailored methods of delivery and collaborative partnerships are important to increase the reach across whānau and communities. Te Au believes that through focusing on wellness, Māori ways of being and positively working together, we can counteract or manage feelings of suicide or depression.
Preventing Suicide and Promoting Wellbeing
Protective factors are conditions or attributes in individuals, families, communities, or the larger society that can lessen or eliminate the risk of suicide among whānau, hapū, iwi, families and communities. Where protective factors are developed we increase the health, well-being and resilience of whānau, hapū, iwi, families and communities.
Personal Protective Factors
- Self-esteem and a sense of belonging
- Goal setting
- Having a secure identity
- Having a positive outlook on life
- Positive relationships and good social support
- Supportive whānau, hapū and iwi connections
- Positive community support
- Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution and positive ways of dealing with disputes and challenges
- Having a positive sense of responsibility for others
- Cultural/spiritual/religious beliefs that support self preservation.
Cultural Protective Factors
- Understanding Māori concepts
- Strengthening of cultural identity
- Access to cultural resources
- Reconnect and maintain connections to whānau, hapū, iwi, and or communities
- Māori perspectives into suicide prevention programmes
- Use outcome measures appropriate to the Māori world view and experiences.
Drawing on Existing Expertise and Experience
- Recognise suicidal behaviours/actions early and support whānau to get help early
- Access to services that are culturally relevant and appropriate
- Encourage whānau participation and value whānau members’ contributions
- Competent assessment processes
- Services that value and promote the dignity and safety of the whānau and the whānau member
- Ongoing education programmes in place for whānau and their whānau member.
Supporting Whānau after Loss
Whānau always come first
Respecting the wishes and privacy of whānau who have lost a loved one to suicide should always be the central concern.
Involving whānau who have had a loss to suicide, is crucial to any postvention or support process offered by helpers and will ensure there is sensitivity to their wishes and preferences.
Following the loss to suicide, whānau can be in shock, yet expected to cope with immediate and ongoing concerns afterward. It is important if you are going to support whānau, to find ways over time to reach out to them to increase chances for awhi. It is also important that awhi offered is well informed about effective supports and services that can be available to whānau.