Sui­cide ’not ge­netic’

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place -

Two Toko­roa women who see racism as a lead­ing cause of Ma¯ ori sui­cide have pre­sented at a ma­jor con­fer­ence in Ro­torua at the week­end.

Launa-anne Smith and Maria Bradshaw trav­elled to Ro­torua to speak to about their ex­pe­ri­ences and help pre­vent fur­ther deaths through their sui­cide pre­ven­tion group CASPA (Com­mu­nity Ac­tion on Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Ed­u­ca­tion & Re­search).

The pair spoke about ‘‘Ad­dress­ing Racism as a Driver of Youth Sui­cide’’ with Smith de­liv­er­ing her story on a per­sonal level.

Her son Lani-ko­hu­rangi Gore took his own life.

‘‘Sta­tis­tics for Ma¯ori sui­cide are so much higher then other pop­u­la­tions in New Zealand, and a lot of that is driven not by men­tal ill­ness but by racism,’’ Bradshaw said.

John Read, a psy­chol­ogy Pro­fes­sor from Auck­land Univer­sity, sur­veyed psy­chi­a­trists on their at­ti­tudes to­wards Ma¯ori in the men­tal health sys­tem.

‘‘Sixty per cent of white male psy­chi­a­trists through­out New Zealand be­lieve that Ma¯ ori are ge­net­i­cally pre­dis­posed to sui­cide,’’ Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw and Smith said they wanted to de­liver the mes­sage that sui­cide was not a ge­netic men­tal ill­ness.

Their aim was to re­duce sui­cide and make peo­ple aware.

‘‘Sta­tis­tics for Ma¯ ori sui­cide are so much higher then other pop­u­la­tions in New Zealand, and a lot of that is driven not by men­tal ill­ness but by racism.’’ Maria Bradshaw

Maria Bradshaw and Launa-anne Smith pre­sented at a ma­jor con­fer­ence on sui­cide in Ro­torua.

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