WHĀNAU SUICIDE PREVENTION INITIATIVES 2014 – 2017
STRONG, SECURE AND NURTURING WHĀNAU
‘Our voyage has enabled us to listen to many voices’
The Waka Hourua voyage heard voices from many directions. At a variety of meetings across Aotearoa testimonies from parents, friends and families provided forceful reminders of the ongoing impacts of suicide. Within those voices could be detected self blame, blame attached to ‘the system,’ concern that warning signs had been ignored or simply not heard, and a suspicion that even dedicated helping services had been unable to listen with a ‘third ear’.
Five marae based wānanga were offered to the communities in the Kaikohe region which focussed on building leadership, resilience and connectedness. The wānanga were a response to the marae whānau asking for support with suicide prevention. The activities addressed cultural knowledge, Māori protocols pertaining to the marae as well as specific suicide prevention information from two visiting hauora (health) services. The cultural and hauora knowledge gained from the wānanga provided the community with confidence that would strengthen their ability to provide suicide prevention.
Te Hauora o Ngāti Hauā Trust in the Waikato was concerned about suicide in their community, so part of the response was three wānanga were held between September to December 2014 intentionally focused on the capacity and wellbeing of whānau as a point of strength and hope. Suicide prevention was viewed as a natural component of whānau wellbeing. Working with large groups of whānau from within the hapū provided an ongoing support base and forum for whānau to discuss issues beyond wānanga. Building whānau understanding of depression and anxiety, its symptoms, triggers and knowledge of the support available will contribute to increasing whānau awareness and responsiveness. Bimonthly newsletters keep the whānau updated on relevant developments.
Ahipene Trust created and implemented a whānau (family) centred suicide pre and post-vention approach based on developing and fostering resilience through establishing stronger connections with each other, to their traditional whenua (land) and through skill and leadership development. These activities took place during two wānanga (Māori focussed forums) particularly supporting rangatahi (youth) to connect with each other and land. Future wānanga were planned to offer further opportunities to strengthen identity.
This whānau based initiative drew on the commitment of whānau to kōrero (talk) about issues and work collaboratively to strengthen each other. Path plans were utilised to transform individuals. These plans focused on whakawhanaungatanga (building relationships), ngā manukura (leadership) manaakitanga (caring for each other), turangawaewae (a place to stand), te oranga o te whānau (health of the family), he kai kei aku ringa, pakihi (solutions), papakainga (community living) and matauranga (knowledge). Whānau were positive and made their commitment to reach their goals focused on strengthening themselves.
This whānau based initiative encouraged talking about suicide and identifying key people and services that could assist them when needed. Finding solutions to a history of abuse was also a feature which involved lifting the silence in a safe environment. Strengthening themselves by developing pride in their whakapapa (genealogy and identity) and learning Māori culture and language meaningful for their whānau were also viewed as suicide prevention approaches for the Takarei Ruha whānau.
Ngā Iwi Mōkai o Pātea Services Trust trading as Mōkai Pātea Services is one of five iwi health providers in the region that hold a collective kaupapa Māori mental health contract under the Whanganui District Health Board. A Pakiwaitara (story) Group was established to share stories of suicide awareness which produced a resource that can be utilised by other tangata whaiora (consumers). The storyline supported the concept of from Te Po (the darkness) to Te Ao Marama (the light).
The Pakiwaitara Group held a series of wānanga focused on whakawhānaungatanga (connection), how to put together a story and writing the stories which were held at different venues throughout the region. The aim was to build each other’s confidence and feel the support of those who may have had similar experiences. Connecting and strengthening whānau was an important step to creating a safe space for all the participants. They all identified a common goal of healing the mind through the expression of short story writing. The book Te Ao Marama 2015 was produced and is a compilation of short stories and poems written specifically by the six participants
Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Charitable Trust (NKW) is dedicated to supporting the continuous development of culturally strong, healthy and vibrant whānau throughout the Wairarapa. NKW has long observed the impact of suicide on the whānau and community and is passionate about making a difference through the establishment of suicide prevention pathways. Under the subsidiary organisation set up by NKW, Te Kupenga o Wairarapa carried out the project of three promotional events to raise awareness, two strength based rangatahi noho (youth forums) developing leadership skills, six suicide prevention workshops on Question Persuade Refer training and four community and family based roadshows. The roadshows had input from various Māori and non-Māori organisations throughout the Wairarapa to put together events that brought whānau and communities together.
Te Hou Ora Whānau Services (THOWS) is a community based Kaupapa Māori service provider located in Dunedin. Their project aimed to provide whānau with the skills and tools they need to “Live Life” as a means of suicide prevention. The initiative consisted of three noho marae (cultural forums and spaces), two sports days and a series of Interagency Cluster Hui. The activities provided an opportunity for whānau to engage in a fun, supportive and positive environment, where they could reconnect with their culture, grow together as a whānau, learn and/or develop practical life skills and network with services that can provide the supports needed.