Tongan scholar exposes youth suicide rate, says more research needed to find ways to help

Pehē ‘e Dr Lolohea Tongi mei he Halamangaono’ Leimātu’a, Vava’u ‘i he ola ‘ene fakatotolo fakaako’ ko e to’utupu Tonga’ ‘oku mā’olunga taha ‘enau taonakita’ ‘i Nu’u Sila’ pea ‘oku fiema’u ‘a e tokoni lahi ki heni.

Young Tongans have the highest rates of youth suicide in New Zealand, according to a newly completed doctoral thesis by a Tongan scholar.

Dr Lolohea Tongi’s thesis was awarded by Griffith University in Brisbane.

Her research looked at mental health issues in young Tongans in New Zealand and Australia.

Dr Tongi said her research called for more research to find effective way to help Tongan youth.

Young Tongans did poorly in education and were over-represented in the criminal justice system.

Young people often faced pressure in adapting to a host country with different family and cultural values.

“In order to understand the well-being of young Tongans, it is essential to take account of the impact of migration on them and their families,” she said.

“The outcomes of New Zealand Tongan and Australian Tongan youth warrant concern and intervention.”

Dr Tongi’s family gathered in Auckland on Saturday, July 27, to celebrate the award of her thesis.

Family members from Australia, including her aunts and cousins, attended

It was also attended by members of the New Lynn Pulela’a Church, to which Dr Tongi belongs.

A number of Tongan faivas were performed during a feast.

The main points

  • Young Tongans have the highest rates of youth suicide in New Zealand, according to a newly completed doctoral thesis by a Tongan scholar.
  • Dr Lolohea Tongi’s thesis was awarded by Griffith University in Brisbane.

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