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Provisional Pacific suicide rates reduce significantly

Pacific people in Aotearoa have seen a statistically significant reduction in the annual provisional suicide rate, as reported by the Office of the Chief Coroner yesterday.

The provisional rate for Pacific populations is now 5.1 per 100,000 people, compared to 9.2 per 100,000 people last year.

Denise Kingi-‘Ulu’ave, Chief Executive of Le Va, said, “Our hearts go out to those who have experienced the death of a loved one from suicide. These statistics represent the tragic loss of beautiful lives, with a devastating impact on grieving whānau and friends.”

Denise Kingi-'Ulu'ave

Le Va Chief Executive Denise Kingi-‘Ulu’ave

“We also acknowledge the individuals, families and communities who are working tirelessly to create a sense of hope in our communities. Preventing suicide requires holistic and collective efforts, and a willingness to take positive action.”

Le Va delivers two national suicide prevention programmes – FLO: Pasifika for Life for Pasifika communities and LifeKeepers, a programme for all New Zealanders that has trained nearly 15,000 people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to intervene when someone is at risk of suicide.

Denise said, “Le Va takes an evidence-based approach to suicide prevention, ensuring our programmes and resources are clinically safe and culturally responsive. Our strategy is to inform and equip our communities with the tools and skills they need to find their own solutions to suicide.

“We know that enhancing protective factors and mitigating for risk factors can foster resilience and lead to a great reduction in harm.”

Preventing suicide is complex and requires a well-funded and collaborative approach. Le Va calls on the New Zealand government to significantly increase its investment in the Suicide Prevention Office – an important vehicle for the coordination of initiatives aimed at reducing suicide.

“While it is encouraging to note that the suicide rate for Pacific populations has seen a statistically significant reduction, we are mindful that our numbers of deaths by suicide are low and open to fluctuation,” Denise said.

“There is still more work to be done to reduce the rates for Māori, who continue to be disproportionately negatively affected. We are dedicated to continuing our mahi in the hope of seeing future suicide rates in decline for all people in Aotearoa.”

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