E rere tonu te waka: Insights from the first journey of Waka Hourua

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’E Rere tonu te waka’ is a report that was written by the Waka Hourua Leadership Group, representing insights and learnings from the first three year journey of the first National Māori and Pasifika Suicide Prevention Programme in New Zealand.   It was an important time to reflect on the learnings of this programme and in doing so to identify key aspects that were key to suicide prevention. In summary they included:
Community leadership and community action have the potential to prevent suicide across all ages.
Communication is key to preventing suicide – communication within whānau and families, across communities, at times of distress, face to face and through digital connections.
Collaboration between organisations, systems, families, and authorities can have more impact than solo actions.
Culture is critical for strengthening resolve and developing resilience.
Compassion will help those who are down or those who struggle to live in the aftermath of suicide.
Capability building for community leaders and front-line guardians will increase their effectiveness.
Clinical expertise must be accessible, relevant, and timely.
Champions for suicide prevention are to be found in schools, sports clubs, churches, on marae, in the theatre, at work, and especially at home.
Crises demand rapid responses and prompt resolution.
Counsellors skilled in the management of distress should be integral to community health and social services, especially in family-oriented programmes.
Commitment to the prevention of suicide by community leaders, Iwi leaders, health and social services, schools, local government, and central government, creates a solid platform for preventing suicide among Māori and Pasifika.
Combatting discrimination, poverty, illnesses, educational under-achievement, unemployment, on-line bitterness, alcohol and drug availability, violence, will all contribute to the prevention of Māori and Pasifika suicide.
Creating opportunities so that Māori and Pasifika can flourish will lead to strengthened minds, fit bodies, raised spirits and positive relationships at home and away.
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