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Ed Sheeran

Māori models needed for suicide action

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The Mental Health Foundation has welcomed the government's new Every Life Matters suicide prevention strategy, but it's disappointed it ignores recommendations for a specific Māori strategy.

Foundation alliance builder Michael Naera says Māori communities bear a disproportionate burden of suicide, and this will not change without empowering and resourcing Māori whānau, iwi and communities to work to develop their own solutions.

He says while the strategy supports the vision and solutions that came out of Ngāti Pikiao's 2016 Tūramarama ki te Ora suicide prevention conference, government seems unwilling to take the next step of accepting there can be a cultural dimension to the issue.

"Psychological models are dominating how we deal with Māori who are distressed. What we need to do is lift the level whereby our own ways of being are recognised and that means working with communities to support us to support our own who are in distress," Mr Naera says.

While suicide prevention is everybody's business, there are times where it also needs to be Māori business.

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