Topic: Health

Urban Māori hold own hui on govt strategy for suicide prevention

By Taroi Black
  • Auckland

The Government didn't want to hold a consultation in their region, so West Auckland Youth Support Group THRIVE held their own, in conjunction with Hāpai Te Hauora, to discuss the Government's Draft National Strategy for the Prevention of Suicide.

Cinnamon Whitlock, CEO of THRIVE says "So the issue here in Tāmaki Makaurau was that the Ministry of Health decided that there wouldn't be a Māori consultation hui and for me and for many of our colleagues here today, that threw us and we're really disappointed with that decision being made."

The Ministry of Health staff have been in contact with Thrive and were invited to attend the hui today at Hoani Waititi Marae. 
  
"I think in terms of the consultation hui, there was no funding, there was not enough budget to spread around, they're doing 19 consultations hui and for whatever reason, there's only three Maori hui around the country."     

Auckland holds the largest population of Māori and half of them are under 25 years old, who are the highest risk group.   

"25% of Māori live in this city of Tāmaki Makaurau, so we're a huge player in this economy of Auckland so we should have an opportunity to consult and come as one." 

The strategy to prevent suicide in New Zealand is only a draft for public consultation around the country. In New Zealand alone 500 people die by suicide each year. 

"Having gone through this strategy or this draft form, I think there are some suggestions I would like to make in terms of the breath of it. Here's hoping there is a target in this strategy and once it's finalized through cabinet and more importantly there is enough funding to drive this."

The government spends $5 million on mental health issues annually with many hoping this year they'll receive an increase.