Strengthening community based suicide prevention initiatives for Pacific Islands people in Aotearoa New Zealand

Monique Faleafa, Denise Kingi-Uluave, Leilani Clarke, Nalei Taufa


This paper describes 17 community-based suicide prevention initiatives for Pacific Islands people living in Aotearoa New Zealand, and a brief summary of their extensive reach and results. The initiatives underwent a one-off contestable fund administered by Le Va as part of the Waka Hourua: National Māori and Pasifika Suicide Prevention Programme. The purpose of the fund was to support community-based initiatives that would build the capacity and capability of Pasifika families and communities to prevent suicide. Assessment guidelines were developed, and an expert panel was established to evaluate applications, consisting of a cross-section of the community, government, cultural knowledge holders, and technical expertise.
The 17 initiatives were analysed for common themes and categorised into three approaches that Pacific Islands communities utilised for suicide prevention. The three approaches were (1) increasing awareness of suicide prevention in a culturally appropriate way, particularly for reducing stigma and enhancing help-seeking behaviour; (2) suicide prevention education on how to recognise and respond to warning signs unique to Pacific Islands communities; and (3) skills-based development to strengthen supportive relationships. The diverse approaches, reflecting the interpretations of suicide prevention within a Pacific cultural context, led to novel and creative initiatives not seen before in Aotearoa New Zealand.


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