Pacific suicide risk twice as high

Media release from Le Va

Pacific young people are approximately twice as likely to have depression, anxiety issues, or to make suicide attempts as the rest of the population.

And young Pacific people born in New Zealand are most at risk as they are twice as likely to experience mental disorder as those who have migrated to New Zealand.*

The high suicide risk for young Pacific people has prompted Pasifikology, a network of Pasifika psychologists, graduates and psychology students to host a symposium on suicide at a conference in Auckland in early April.

The symposium will be part of the GPS 2012: Growing Pacific Solutions for our families conference.   The conference is the first ever conference aimed specifically at addressing mental health, addiction and disability issues within New Zealand’s Pacific community.   It has been organised by Le Va, Pasifika within Te Pou – the national centre for mental health, addiction and disability workforce development.

Dr Monique Faleafa, national manager of Le Va and a member of Pasifikology said for the Pacific suicide statistics to change, Pacific people in New Zealand must be part of the solution.

“The New Zealand suicide prevention strategy clearly identifies that suicide prevention strategies aimed at Pacific peoples need to be tailored for those peoples, and mindful of specific cultural contexts and beliefs,” Dr Faleafa said.

“It makes no sense to develop solutions which are not based in a cultural context.”

At the symposium, psychologists will look at specific issues surrounding suicide for Pacific communities. Topics will include supporting people at risk, warning signs, resiliency, the role of the family, how to talk about suicide and the challenges of dealing with suicide in community settings.

The symposium, to be held 3.30pm, Wednesday 4 April, is open to all conference delegates and to media representatives on request.

For more information about the conference, and to register online, go to

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