Whatever we call it, be it low socio economic status or poor determinants, poverty is multidimensional and can impact many components of wellbeing. We have to do more in Aotearoa to counteract the root cause and negative impacts of material and economic poverty upon whānau!
Māori Suicide Prevention approaches can be deeper and broader in their reach. There are consistent trends at the individual and whānau levels indicating that the worse economic status, diminished wealth, less access to education and employment are factors associated with the poor health of our whānau, especially our tamariki and rangatahi.
We hear and see the evidence that for whānau living in deprived situations, they are more likely to experience a range of health and social conditions and die early. We would say that poverty is a key and enduring factor in the increasing risk of self harm and suicide amongst Māori.
The range of methods that are needed to improve whānau wellbeing and to address inequalities are pertinent in Māori suicide prevention approaches as they are across all of health. The impacts of poverty are wide ranging and reach across the lifespan, when early in life or for an extended period, we are at risk of a host of adverse health and developmental outcomes.
There is a need for multi-level, Māori health promotion, prevention-oriented approaches that are holistic in nature, are informed by matauranga Māori, centred upon whānau, that also address the root causes of poverty. These would foster practical solutions, innovative strategies and resources to address poverty head on. It would elicit whānau and individual strengths, it would facilitate and ensure opportunities for better education, income, housing, employment and overall living conditions.