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Extra help needed for Māori suicide risk
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MARIA BAKER INTERVIEW


A Māori health advocate wants to see more resources going into Māori suicide prevention programmes.

Statistics for the year to June show a 12 percent increase in the Māori male suicide rate, and an increase in the suicide rate overall.

Te Rau Matatini chief executive Maria Baker says the trauma from colonialism and dispossession is a factor.

So too are standard risk factors affecting disproportionate numbers of Maori like poor housing, lack of access to good education, good jobs and income . . . which also gives pointers to what needs to be done.

"If we’ve got really good whakawhānaunga, we’ve got really good relationships, we’ve got good connections, a place of being, we feel good about ourselves, those sort of protective factors can really bunk the negative kind of spaces we are in and the impact of some of the environments that we are living in," Ms Baker says.

Many positive programmes have been developed at community level, but they are being funded and implemented in fragmentary and inconsistent ways.
 

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