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Calls for more action to deal with Christchurch youth suicide

11 July 2017

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

Youth advocates dealing with suicide and mental health in Christchurch are calling for more robust public discussions on the issue. 

Official statistics show Christchurch recorded the highest number of suicides every year since the 2011 earthquakes, peaking last year with 78 cases. 

Pacific youth advocate Josiah Tualamali'i says teen suicide was among the issues they raised with Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft.

"This is so important. We don't want it to be taboo anymore," says Tualamali'i. "The sooner we can all talk about mental health the better everyone will be, not just Pacific people, not just Maori, but everyone."

Tualamali'i says the impact of the 2011 earthquakes continue to impact heavily on Pacific families. 

He says the small population and isolation of Pacific families often mean they don't have access to culturally appropriate services that deal with mental health.

Tualamali'i says the rebuild has seen the city's infrastructure restored, but Pacific families mask the trauma associated with the disaster. 

"Young people are still very deeply impacted," he says. "We have a real need for families to know that there are services out there and for services to respond to our community in a way that suits the community."

Tualamali'i is in the Pacific Youth Leadership and Transformation Trust in Christchurch.

Tags: Christchurch, suicide, mental health,